Why are most songs 3-6 minutes?

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  1. Falsor Wing profile image78
    Falsor Wingposted 8 years ago

    I've always wondered about this. The only reason I can think of is because radio stations don't like songs longer than that and won't play them while songs under a certain length leave the listener sort of POed. thoughts?

    1. IzzyM profile image89
      IzzyMposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Yeah radio stations play about 3 minutes of a song and fade it out if it goes on for longer.
      You ever sang karaoke?
      American Pie goes on for a lot longer than the radio version, and Meatloaf's "Dashboard Lights" goes on forever. I used to hate when someone requested that song when I was a karaoke compere. I think it lasts 13 minutes, but on karaoke those could seem like the longest 13 minutes of your life!

    2. William F. Torpey profile image75
      William F. Torpeyposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Songs were first  made popular in the early 20th Century when they were recorded on vinyl. They were generally recorded at 78 rpm's. The size of the record was set and only allowed for roughly three minutes of playing time (That's usually what it  takes to sing the verse once or twice.) When the recording speed moved to 33  rpms and when records were later made larger for albums they still played the roughly 3-minute songs. I imagine it is merely tradition that radio played songs of 3 minutes each. Longer recording times would certainly lose many listeners. I don't see any reason why anyone would  want to change it.

      1. Falsor Wing profile image78
        Falsor Wingposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        Deliciously in depth trivia is one of the main reasons I love the internet. You sir win 1 internet

      2. Marisa Wright profile image96
        Marisa Wrightposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        Great answer - I did read that once, but I'd forgotten it.

        Actually, pop songs have been getting steadily longer.  When I first started jazz dancing years ago, most songs were under 3 minutes, the ideal length for a dance solo.  These days, songs can be 5 or 6 minutes long - a bit too long to keep audience attention - so dancers always have to cut them. Which is annoying!

    3. leeberttea profile image56
      leebertteaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      That's the average attention span of most people for listening to anything. If it was any longer, we'd have world peace by now!

  2. blondepoet profile image72
    blondepoetposted 8 years ago

    Maybe the average person's attention span is 3 to 6 min lol. Mine is about two. smile smile

    1. profile image61
      logic,commonsenseposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      I noticed......er uh what was the question! smile

      1. blondepoet profile image72
        blondepoetposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        The question was what flavor chocolate paint do you prefer?
        Ummm I think. smile

        1. profile image61
          logic,commonsenseposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          Blonde flavored!  With poet topping! smile

  3. lightning john profile image60
    lightning johnposted 8 years ago

    Have you ever heard Ina Godda Da Vida? Well thats why, and it's got some to do with time structure, and format at radio stations.

  4. timorous profile image82
    timorousposted 8 years ago

    Because most listeners these days are usually multi-tasking and not particularly focused on the song itself.  If it goes on too long without changing noticeably, you're more likely to tune it out and focus on other tasks, or switch to a different tune.  Change is good.

    Back in the late 60's, when FM radio became a popular medium with hippies (after the domination of AM radio's 2-3 minute pop tunes), it was common to hear a complete side of a vinyl LP (~18 mins.), such as Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida".  Back then there weren't as many media to entertain us, so sitting down with rapt attention was very common.

    So now the pop song has come full circle, but for somewhat different reasons.

  5. thisisoli profile image70
    thisisoliposted 8 years ago

    We need the next Pink Floyd!

    1. blondepoet profile image72
      blondepoetposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Dum dee dah it's just another brick in the wall. smile

      1. profile image0
        blake4dposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding BP

        1. blondepoet profile image72
          blondepoetposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          The meat always comes first priority Blake, lol. smile

  6. Rafini profile image87
    Rafiniposted 8 years ago

    So classical music goes longer than 3-6 minutes because they were created LONG before records and radio??  lol

  7. Falsor Wing profile image78
    Falsor Wingposted 8 years ago

    Ana Goda Da Vita is what the DJ plays when he has to take a dump thats why it gets to break the three minute rule.

  8. theirishobserver. profile image60
    theirishobserver.posted 8 years ago

    blondepoet - gets it right - attension span - 3-6 unless you like Queens and their song Bohemian Rapsity went on and on and on.... on smile

    1. blondepoet profile image72
      blondepoetposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Woo hoo Irish smile

  9. Pearldiver profile image81
    Pearldiverposted 8 years ago

    Well apparently the length of a song was generally based on the length of time it took a guy to completely seduce a girl. hmm

    Original recording used to take just 2 minutes... lol
    but then a DJ suggested extra time was required for those couples who indulged in foreplay or exchange of phone numbers. hmm

    After the release of 'Relax' by Frankie goes to Hollywood... most guys realised that it was fairly important to satisfy their partners as well as themselves yikes lol

    Did your parents ever disclose to you which song you were conceived to? hmm
    If so.... you can probably establish your own genetic attention span lol

  10. Uninvited Writer profile image84
    Uninvited Writerposted 8 years ago

    I think it had something to do with commercial radio, so they could squeeze as many commercials in as possible.

  11. trish1048 profile image73
    trish1048posted 8 years ago

    It's always been a puzzle to me also.  One of my favorite songs is only 2.3 minutes long, and it ticks me off lol.  I would so have loved it if it were longer.

    Bon Jovi's Bed of Roses is approximately 6 minutes, and I'll Make Love to You by Boyz II Men is around 5.  I love it, the longer the better in my opinion.  Especially slow ones,,,great for getting up close and personal smile

  12. Aya Katz profile image82
    Aya Katzposted 8 years ago

    Even at filksings, people usually resent it when a longer song is sung.

    1. timorous profile image82
      timorousposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      I guess because it's hard to remember all the lyrics. smile

  13. Whitney05 profile image82
    Whitney05posted 8 years ago

    Attention span.

  14. Greek One profile image72
    Greek Oneposted 8 years ago

    the playing of music often goes hand in hand with the love making process.

    accordingly, 3 to 6 minutes is all that is needed

    1. timorous profile image82
      timorousposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      lollol I suspect you'd get a different opinion from the ladies. smile

      Hey Greek One; I'll bet in the not too distant past, you had a 'sex tape' music compilation that you felt 'did the trick'.  Come on..admit it smile

    2. profile image0
      Kathryn LJposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      It also gives the women time to go and make a cup of tea.

      1. Greek One profile image72
        Greek Oneposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        exactly!!  while her sister comes in for round two! tongue

        1. trish1048 profile image73
          trish1048posted 8 years agoin reply to this

          Oh! Oh!  you naughty boy smile

  15. sabrebIade profile image61
    sabrebIadeposted 8 years ago

    Billy Joel mentions it in his 1975 song, The Entertainer...

    "I am the entertainer,
    I come to do my show.
    You've heard my latest record,
    It's been on the radio.
    Ah, it took me years to write it,
    They were the best years of my life.
    It was a beautiful song.
    But it ran too long.
    If you're gonna have a hit,
    You gotta make it fit--
    So they cut it down to 3:05."

    He was talking about another song he wrote, Piano Man, which was originally 5:38, but the studio made them cut it down to a more "marketable" 3:05.
    Although actually it comes in at 3:48.

    Dear God...I've been possessed by Casey Kasem!!!

    1. Uninvited Writer profile image84
      Uninvited Writerposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      lol

 
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