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Spotify Music

Have Gen Z Killed the 3-Minute Pop Track?

3 minute pop song

Following the 3-minute formula used to give artists the best chance at creating a chart-topping hit, but in 2022, it is official, hit songs are getting shorter. The rise in micro-media platforms and the abstract idea of the limited 8-second attention spans of Gen Z are often said to be the main driver behind the durations of songs getting briefer. As much as older generations love to moan about the youth of today and their technology, which reportedly disintegrates popular culture, there is a bigger factor at play.

Much of the cause behind the inclination to condense singles into shorter packages can also be attributed to how we all discover and consume music: on streaming platforms.

The History of the Three-Minute Pop Track

Traditionally, pop tracks were kept to three and a half minutes and under so they could comfortably squeeze onto one side of a 7-inch record in high fidelity. Shorter pop tracks would also get the best chance of being spun on the radio. Radio stations have always been wary of losing the listener’s attention, often sacrilegiously using the intros and the outros to talk over them. Today, radio is much less of a music discovery medium, with streaming platforms and social media being a much bigger part of the music culture picture.

There are also fascinating urban legends of the mafia owning jukeboxes in the 40s and 50s. It was in their best interest to litter the jukeboxes with shorter records to maximise their income. Fast forward 70 years and not much has changed from the mobster’s reign. The cigar-toting mobsters have been replaced with the likes of Danie Ek, the CEO of Spotify, who now earns infinitely more than the most powerful mobsters in history and gets a fraction of the respect for his mercenary desecration of the industry.

The Influence of Streaming Platforms on Song Durations and the Rise of the Earworm

To immediately capture the interest of attention-deprived music fans who are all about instant aural gratification, independent artists and label-signed artists alike are becoming increasingly wary of how they construct their music. Heaven forbid artists let the tension build through inventive interludes; in modern pop culture, it is less about the artform and more about the capacity to endlessly entertain the listener.

More and more artists are cutting the intros to their songs and starting with hooks or choruses to prevent listeners from bouncing to another track on streaming platforms out of boredom.

For songs played for less than 30 seconds on Spotify, no royalties are paid to the artist. That may only be a loss of $0.004, but the detriment doesn’t stop there. The Spotify algorithm notes each song skip as a signal of dissatisfaction. Enough skips could lead to the artist and their music getting put in front of fewer fans. Regardless of at which point the song is skipped. Meaning, that if you opt to use an extended outro or an ambient middle eight that your listeners get bored of, your track has a far greater chance of being skipped and underperforming on streaming platforms and in the charts.

Furthermore, the royalties for a 31-second song are the same as a 3-minute song and the longest song on Spotify, which spans 48 hours, 39 minutes and 43 seconds. So, it literally pays for artists to monetarily maximise their listeners’ time by creating shorter tracks.

The St Albans rock band, The Pocket Gods, released an album of 1,000 30-second songs to protest Spotify’s unfair royalty rates in 2022. They didn’t exactly end up on the Forbes rich list via this PR stunt, but their protest was an inventive retaliation to how streaming services, such as Spotify, are altering the industry with the unfairness of their royalties. But once again, Gen Z is taking the fall for using the technology they have grown up with.

Are Music Consumers’ Attention Spans Getting Shorter?

Reportedly, in 2022, the collective average consumer attention span is just eight seconds; and people said millennials had short attention spans in 2000 when their attention spans stretched over just 12 seconds. However, it is worth keeping in mind that this eight-second duration is the length of time it takes to win a music fan over – it is not the maximum length of time that we can now focus on a particular medium.

So, to answer my titular question, the 3-minute pop track is not dwindling in duration solely because of Gen Z and their preferred social media platform. In fact, TikTok has come to be one of the best social media platforms for music discovery, consumption and promotion, compared to the graveyard of a boomer favourite, Facebook.

Micro-media is king on platforms such as TikTok and Twitter, but that does not mean that Gen Z is incapable of sitting through longer songs or appreciating classic song structures. Take the popularity of Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill as the perfect example. It has a duration of 4:58-minutes, and according to the official charts, it was the most popular song in the summer of 2022. Once you have captured interest, you have a captive audience to impress with your music.

The dwindling attention span is one of the most common misconceptions of our modern age. The main reason for the comparisons between Gen Z and a goldfish is because of the vast selection of stimuli available to the younger generations. Gen Z consumers, like all consumers, have more content vying for their attention.

To conclude, for independent artists releasing music in 2022, it is worth considering omitting needlessly extended intros, pre-choruses and fades to prevent Spotify’s algorithm from demoting your music after too many skips, but don’t doubt music consumer’s ability to appreciate traditional song structures.

The appetite for high-quality music is still there; if anything, the draconian rule of Spotify and other streaming platforms is one of the biggest drivers in ensuring that the music that gets promoted is worthy of consumers’ attention.

Amelia Vandergast


Staying young while it lasts: Pop act Slits & $lie entertain us with catchy ‘Like That’

Slits & $lie return with the fantastic new R&B-Pop dance floor slider on ‘Like That’. The quick start is like an engine humming as the song builds and soon we are flying fast on this highway, hair swirling in the wind with your sunglasses on looking all fresh.

Taken off ‘Burnt Out’, the new school energy is vibrant here as the duo speaks about what life is like for them right now and how it is. This is about leaving those demons for another day as you are having too much fun right now with your homies. You know you need to fix yourself up as things are getting rather hazy and you are losing touch with reality a bit much but not today. The night is still way too young and you want to see her again and tell her how you feel inside.

The beat is simple and meshes well with the vibe of this track, the lo-fi layers adds to the energy and you feel like sparking up and swimming in a pool while listening here. These are two young musicians who are still learning about themselves, other people and right now the friend circle is tight like a well-tied scout knot.

Like That’ from Slits & $lie is that new track you will tell your friends about and play again and again; real loud. It’s a perfect track for summer and speaks about how love can make your mind spin around like a lost wheel sometimes. After all, when you are young you think that you can do anything and you need good friends to hold you back sometimes to show they actually care. Right now though, the drinks are flowing and no-one wants to be the party stopper.

Hear this party vibe on Spotify and find out more via lilslits and bigslie.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

The flamed out love that once burnt so bright: ‘Too Little Too Late’ from Boston’s Jessica Gelinas, Voel and Justin Adijanto is a reflection of what could of been

With the succulent guitar beginning that draws you in a like a pretty picture, you suddenly feel so calm and relaxed. The beat is graceful and intricate, the volume slowly turns up as you listen so intently. The vocals then open the door ajar and you start to walk in slowly, fascinated and blessed to hear these beautiful sounds. Boston’s Jessica Gelinas, Voel and Justin Adijanto team up to form a strong team, on their new Indie R&B single named ‘Too Little Too Late‘.

The sultry and classy voice emanates through your veins, and into your feelings right away. This is about a lover who tried for a while, but then they started to show their true colors. Growing tired of silly games was too much, and now there is nothing to save in this once strong love. Feeling like you were taken for grated for a while, the fire burnt out like an old candle, and now its laying on the floor in tatters. The time to heal and move on, is closer than you thought before.

Her vocals make the hairs stand up, the guitar rhythm is so perfect, and the production is done just right. Nothing seems over the top here, the song is so effortlessly performed, and you play this Lo-fi infused Indie R&B track again and again, there is so much to like here, and your mind wonders with all the beauty around.

A feeling of reflection and sadness burns bright like a campfire alone, and you hope that Jessica Gelinas, Voel and Justin Adijanto can find that well-deserved happiness, in this often selfish and unnecessarily egotistical world.

Its sometimes ‘Too Little Too Late‘ for love to be fixed with broken souls but luckily, there is always a new one that is ready to be born again in this world that makes no sense right now. The only way to recover is to take a deep breath, shake off the doubt, and open your heart up to love, and be loved again.

Listen to this beautiful single on Spotify.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

A story of transformation: Nashville based C.A Jones shows his class on the excellent ‘A Southern Sentiment’

Taken off the recent debut full album called The Velvet Hour, this is a fine addition to 2020 as it has a peaceful and thoughtful undertone. With the world going way too fast and in danger of skidding off the road at any second, we are blessed to have an intelligent voice like C.A Jones to help us relax a little bit, even for a short time. ‘A Southern Sentiment‘ is the new single and this is something special.

With a pure sound that is a rarity these days, this is an artist that working all the time to be a better person. He believes in his music and wants to learn. With so many artists showing their selfish side at times, this is a welcome change and one that inspires hope in these dark times. A ray of sunshine however creeps through the clouds as you listen to this new single.

Gosh, the class is so evident and you become so curious with each passing second. A singer-songwriter with a voice that pierces through like a tattoo artist making a sculpture on your body, this intertwines in the heart and make the blood flow so much smoother.

With a silky style that has so much brilliance attached, C.A Jones is top quality on ‘A Southern Sentiment‘. This is the story of finding yourself in a new town, a new experience and having that fresh mindset to succeed. Music that means something is always welcome.

Hear this peaceful song here on Spotify and follow the journey here on Insta.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

‘Sorry, I’m Not’ from Chinese C-Pop/R&B artist Echo Huang is a song with genre-bending skill about heartbreak

Sorry, I’m Not‘ from Chinese C-Pop/R&B artist Echo Huang is a song with genre-bending skill about heartbreak that shines through the dark clouds of current times. The Berklee College of Music student is on a mission to combine these two styles to educate her homeland and also create her own lane in the music highway.

Currently based in Boston, you get the feeling that this young musician is finding her voice really quickly. With a fresh sound and lots of self-motivation, this is the start of something special. Inspired by OG Chinese artists, Whitney Houston, D’Angelo and Erykah Badu just to name a few, Echo is learning from the best but also doing things in her own way.

You know your self-worth and refuse to let anyone push you around. You are sad that things ended and the friendship is over but they walked over you way too many times. The trust barrier is broken like a car that needs a much-needed service.

Echo Huang sings with such grace on ‘Sorry, I’m Not‘. She knows her value and isn’t letting anyone bring her down. With a lovely voice and clever lyrics, this is such an enjoyable listen that keeps you hooked all the way through. I love the way that Echo writes music, her lyrics catch your attention and the beat meshes perfectly with the message.

This is an artist with so much talent and authenticity, which is just what we needed in this crazy year. She has made this writer a huge C-Pop/R&B fan and many more will follow.

Click here for the Spotify link.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Long Island cousins McZo send the world lots of ‘Love’ with this fresh new single

Long Island cousins McZo send the world lots of ‘Love‘ with this fresh new single that is a ray of sunshine in this dark world with lots of smoke and mirrors. Love is the way forward and is the only way we can heal up from the wildness of 2020 and the challenges faced.

With a sunshine-vibe kind of start, you just know that this is going to be a top track. The New York based duo have created such a romantic masterpiece here. This is the type of song to play with that special person in your life as it feels so right, life is happy and the stars are so bright.

You love her so much and want her to be free as you support her all the way. You don’t want to get hurt but this feels different and you jump into this journey that makes you smile so much.

McZo are a brilliant duo that know each other well and you can feel this on ‘Love‘. The two cousins from Long Island bless the world with this incredible indie-pop jam that is so tasty and fresh, you will want seconds.

Check out the Spotify page to hear this new track.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Suris return with the incredible new single ‘Argus’

Suris are Lindsey and David Mackie. They are back with a new organic single full of heart and intrigue to all listeners. It’s called ‘Argus‘ and this is the perfect song to mediate to in 2020.

With a vibrant start, the background sounds grab you and this is something you haven’t heard much before. Soon, we are dazzled by the beautiful vocals, these are noises that we like. Such clear vocals and these two work so well together. This is a stunning song, full of intricate details, there is a rhythm here that is missing from most new songs.

This is proper music, with layers and a light that shines through all your worries. There is an alternative wonderland here, everything is so vivid and I get lost in this indie-soundscape track.

Suris break down more barriers with ‘Argus‘ and you can see why they are so successful, well-respected and admired throughout. This is poetic, this has an orchestra type of feel, this is melodic and stirs your insides like a hot cuppa tea.

Click here for the Spotify page.

Head through to the Facebook link.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Rock band Cobrahawk return with the powerful ‘Heaven Help Me’

Cobrahawk return with the powerful ‘Heaven Help Me‘ and this is a terrific rock track with a edgy bounce to it. This is exactly the type of song to put on full volume and enjoy.

Cobrahawk is a professional rock & roll band known for their full-paced driving guitar riffs, super pounding drums, matched with raw, powerful vocal melodies. All started in 2013, with the band playing cover tunes under the name of Walking Talking Stephen Hawking. The name was changed to something more PR friendly, and the band began writing original music in 2014. From there, the rest if history really. After a name change, things have been going forward ever since.

You want to be a better person but sometimes have to do things that you don’t want to. Life is crazy right now in 2020 and you want it to all be okay.

With a name like Cobrahawk, you expect nothing less than a real rock tune on ‘Heaven Help Me‘. With such strong vocals, the lyrics are easy to hear and this makes the listening experience that much more enjoyable. This is a heavy track that will please a lot of old and now new fans too.

Click through to the Spotify link.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

‘The Moment Keeps on Moving’ from Max Lee is a lovely indie-folk single

The Moment Keeps on Moving‘ from Max Lee is a lovely indie-folk single that has care and love written all over it.

Bethel, New York is the home of Max Lee and he returns with a fine track that is full of honesty, indie-folk dreams and fantastic lyrics. Very unsatisfied with widespread complacent attitudes toward life, he is on a mission to change the world with his music.

This is about knowing deep inside what the real story. You need to follow your dream and make your move, you are the person in charge of your destiny so must do what is right.

The Moment Keeps on Moving‘ from Max Lee is a fine new effort from the singer-songwriter as he delves into life with a fine song. With a voice that takes you on a flourishing journey, this is a real track that we needed. Keeping the moment and making everything worthwhile in life is so vital. Music like this reminds us about this important message.

Click here for the Spotify page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Wisconsin Punk band Interlay rock it like its hot on the new banger called ‘Rot’

Wisconsin Punk band Interlay rock it like its hot on the new banger called ‘Rot‘ and this is an energetic single to boost your mood in 2020.

Madison, Wisconsin-based outfit Interlay who were previously known to the locals as Wash, make things much better with a roaring effort that is shoegazey and so fresh. These bass-lines are so rugged they should be illegal, the vocals are sung with tha rare passion, the rest of the band are on top form here. They remind me a bit of South African band Julia Robert but with an extra edge and this is such a great listen. Music perfect for that small, dusty and sweat bar that everyone complains about when sober but loves after one of two beverages.

This is about the rot in the world, you are not impressed at all and wish that things were better. You know that the world is capable of so much more and music is the only thing keeping you going,

Interlay, the exciting band from Wisconsin in the US, storm in with a fine track. ‘Rot‘ is the first single from the album and for this, there is no surprise. This is a rocking track that punk fans will love forever.

Click here for the Spotify page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen