Streaming music is changing the way songs are written


Have you noticed that songs are
getting shorter? The median length of Billboard Hot
100 songs dropped from over four minutes
in 2000. to around three and a half minutes in
2018. Music is changing because the way we consume music has completely
changed. Streaming is now king. It’s the biggest source of revenue in
the music industry and a way for artists to bring new
attention to their work. So some music producers are changing
the music they create. To work the system in their favor. But can chasing stream counts produce
good music? I’m Eduardo Araujo. This is Quartz. Please subscribe to our channel. The way an audience listens to a song has shaped the music of every era. Radio spreads new sounds directly
into our homes. The invention of the smaller forty
five RPM record gives birth to the single that we
know today. Cassette tapes with their portability
and ease of overdubbing gives birth to the mix tape. And now we are here. Streaming makes up nearly half of all
music revenue in the world. With 232 million monthly listeners on
the leading music platform Spotify there is an unprecedented amount of
data on who is listening and what they’re
listening to. – Now you have so much streaming data
and information around not just how many plays
they’re getting but what territory people are
listening to them in, right, what their audience looks like. Is it Millennial is it older right. Like you can really use data to
figure out who you want to get in front of, who
you want to focus on in a way that you never
could before. – We have engineering over here, this
is Max, creating the products of the future. Jeff Ponchik is the co-founder and
CEO of Repost, a company that helps artists use data to get more streams and followers. – So was that like one of the first
things you did was get yourself a great programmer, is that step number one? – Yeah. Repost has only been around for three
years. And hand selects the artists it wants
to work with. Repost functions like a distributor. Distributors used to sign deals with
labels to act as middlemen between the label and the record
stores. But now companies like repost help
them reach an audience on their own. Via places like SoundCloud or Spotify
or YouTube. Jeff estimates that less than 10 percent of Repost’s clients actually live off
their music revenue. But it does open a new door to
artists that wasn’t there before in the age
of the record label. – Like not everyone is going to be
the next Beyonce, right. but you might be able to make five
ten thousand dollars a month then you know make a
living doing what you love and not have to work at
Starbucks anymore. One way to maximize profit from
streaming is understanding how payments are
made. The amount artists receive on a
single play is minuscule. Jeff says that on Spotify that number
is somewhere around 0.004 cents per play. To make any real money they need
millions of streams, and that means playlists
have become the gatekeepers to being heard. – On Spotify, it’s all about getting in those big
Spotify playlists, right. That’s how you get discovered. – Getting your first playlist is
definitely very exciting. It’s just crazy like you never really
expect that. And all of a sudden your song gets a
bunch of streams and you’re like wow this is, this feels good, finally my work kind
of paid off. Some people are hearing it. Twuan is a lo fi hip hop producer
from Salt Lake City. He started making music at home in
high school. Now he’s working with Repost and says he’s living entirely off of
his streaming revenue. Getting on a playlist takes luck and
strategy to catch the attention of a human
curator, or game an algorithm. But there’s something simpler artist
can do to increase profits. Make songs shorter. – If you upload a song to
specifically Spotify that’s an hour
long or you upload a song that’s a minute
long, the amount of revenue you’re going to
get for either or is going to be the same per listen as
my understanding. You release an album with a ton of
songs on it that are really short, so it can
cycle through as many tracks as quickly as
possible. It’s kind of a way to hack more
revenue. It’s a matter of math. Sixty one minute songs will make 60
times as much as a 60 minute song. The structure of the song matters
too, Spotify only pays for songs once the
listener has passed the 30 second point. This means the first 30 seconds are
crucial. – What we hear in the first 30
seconds of the song has become almost an
overture if you will. If we were talking about a Broadway
production And will hear certain themes that we
may hear reverberated again throughout the rest of the
song. While there are certainly deviations
traditionally songs are written in ABABCB structure. But one tactic artists use to keep
people engaged is to move that B, the chorus or the
hook, to the very top of the song. So that listeners are always waiting for the catchiest is part of the song to come back around again. And you can hear the effects of that
in modern pop. Like with this song. And this song. And this song. But beyond the data and the money, there’s the craft of actually writing
songs you’re proud to put your name on. For many artists balancing true
creativity With market driven needs is crucial. – I do see and acknowledge cynically
that I could use. different tactics to make money, but, I don’t want to spend my time
thinking that way. I think the biggest danger with
streaming services is that artists aren’t going to be
encouraged to make commercially viable, challenging work because it’s not how they make money. – Streaming music has utterly
transformed the music industry. It has transformed the music that we
hear and it has transformed the way that
we discover and consume music in general, in profound ways that I think we’re
only just beginning to understand. Are you discovering new artists
through streaming platform? Tell us who you think has the best
streaming playlists and music in the comments. Follow us on Facebook. Next week we’ll stick with our sonic
theme and look for a specific eerie noise That has taken over today’s film
score and sound design.

97 thoughts on “Streaming music is changing the way songs are written

  • October 29, 2019 at 9:51 am
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    Streaming service like itunes just make artist more underpaid and low revenue

    Reply
  • October 29, 2019 at 9:03 pm
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    So basically have a sick ass intro

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  • November 1, 2019 at 2:29 am
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    I mean, it's not only that. I feel like people nowadays have shorter attention spans. It just fits.

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  • November 1, 2019 at 2:12 pm
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    Many artists find cleaver and creative ways on how to adapt to technology or business limitations.
    I’m seeing concept albums based on thirty seconds tracks that build a whole huge musical experience of songs that are made of the union of those short tracks.
    That would be cool… and probably profitable.

    Reply
  • November 2, 2019 at 4:05 am
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    Is attention span also counted for. I think internet has shortened our attention spans.

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  • November 3, 2019 at 10:13 am
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    Streaming is not the biggest revenue in the industry, tours and merchandise are.

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  • November 4, 2019 at 10:21 pm
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    Repost Network is owned by soundcloud

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  • November 4, 2019 at 11:13 pm
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    this is something I've been contemplating for months… but it is curious how many people are aware now, love it

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  • November 7, 2019 at 5:31 am
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    What the heck, you skipped the whole entire CD era directly to digital?

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  • November 9, 2019 at 5:18 am
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    not for tool

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  • November 9, 2019 at 8:14 am
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    At 2:47, the video says that one play is 0.004 CENTS (not dollars, but cents). That means you need 100,000 plays to make $4. Not sure if they meant 0.004 dollars.

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  • November 9, 2019 at 2:10 pm
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    To those who lament songs being shorter and everything being a lot more singles-driven, I mean, this isn't actually new. For most of the history of recorded music, songs were usually just 2 minutes or so seconds tops (listen to old Motown, Phil Spector, Beatles, doo wop songs on any rock n roll Oldies station etc.) Especially before the 1970s. For instance, Diana Ross & the Supreme's "Stop! In The Name of Love" (1965) is 2 minutes and 56 seconds and follows the Chorus-first formula that this video covers.

    "Long songs" was also just a way to MARKET EPs and LPS and longform record players back in the 1960s and 70s. Mick Jagger even said that the record company would make money just by switching formats every generation to sell the same music over and over again (vinyl, switched to 8 tracks, switched to cassettes to compact disc, mp3 etc etc etc) just a way to generate revenue for the equipment makers (Panasonic, Sony, RCA, Zenith, etc) and the record companies. It wasn't about getting artists money when you bought an album or single. Artists rarely made money off their recorded music, the record companies did. It's never purely been only about the music. Great songs have come out, but short songs have always existed.

    I prefer this current format compared to back in the 1990s when you bought USED CDs (and the artist got ZERO money off the resale) or buying CDs for $19.99 and only 20-30% of the album actually being listenable. And the albums, singles and physical music would just clutter your house.

    Also the power is more in the hands of the artists to create their own destinies more and more. And same for the fans, you get more and more of what you want to hear right away.

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  • November 10, 2019 at 3:54 am
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    great content

    Reply
  • November 10, 2019 at 5:31 pm
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    I think it’s because streaming killed the album. Music has gone back to the day of the single. Singles were shorter when they weren’t part of an album. The 4:30sec. or even 5:30sec + song was unusual. I sort of agree with the artist at 5:22, but you can still have a loss-leader(if you will) single that follows the streaming algorithm for exposure that acts as a sorta hook to bring listeners to your personal work.

    Reply
  • November 11, 2019 at 12:51 am
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    Watching this made me understand why Tierra Whack made one minute songs in Whack World… but I do hate that artists are not paid the same as they did back in the day!

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  • November 11, 2019 at 6:38 am
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    This may be bringing us back to the 60s. Beatles songs at their early years are somewhere between 2-3 minutes.

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  • November 11, 2019 at 11:54 am
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    This video is sooo chill

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  • November 14, 2019 at 10:30 pm
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    So fuckin do be that much formated by commercials platform.

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  • November 15, 2019 at 10:57 am
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    great video!!

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  • November 16, 2019 at 3:43 pm
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    Really interesting. Though, I'm wondering if the 60 minutes songs would actually generate the same as 1 one minute songs since the 60 minutes songs could have more ads on Spotify due to its length, therefore generating more revenue?

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  • November 17, 2019 at 2:32 am
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    Lol then don't listen to mainstream charts music. Youre complaining about a problem that just exists because of your shitty music taste.

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  • November 17, 2019 at 11:25 am
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    A catchy 1:30 – 2:00 minute song. With the Chorus repeated 3x. On a replay. Ahhhhhhhhhhh!

    Reply
  • November 17, 2019 at 5:55 pm
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    The problem with streaming is that you can listen to an unlimited amount of songs. Who needs 50 million songs? 20 years ago i had like 100 cd s and 30 cassette tapes. And i thought that was a whole lot!

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  • November 18, 2019 at 9:01 pm
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    I don’t like Jeff, the “Not everyone could be the next Beyonce but you can live off 5k-10k” like bruh be optimistic

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  • November 18, 2019 at 10:13 pm
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    "streaming is first source of revenue in the music industry" -> I think it's the last one

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  • November 19, 2019 at 11:39 am
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    lemmino ?

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  • November 19, 2019 at 4:18 pm
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    I don’t think that streaming is the first source of revenue. Artist are depending on tours for revenues. What a 0,004 $ is for an artists. Live shows are the thing for artist nowadays.

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  • November 19, 2019 at 4:56 pm
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    consume music lol

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  • November 19, 2019 at 9:25 pm
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    Thank god! Songs should be all around 7 minutes.

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  • November 19, 2019 at 11:05 pm
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    X: "Streaming makes up nearly half of all music revenue in the world."
    X: OPENS SOUNDCLOUD

    Reply
  • November 19, 2019 at 11:35 pm
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    It's a shame when technology dictates peoples creativity and artistic intent.
    I'm from the previous generation and would never subscribe to the agenda
    of the millennial tactics of today. 90% TRASH being put out today. Downsized
    to one form of music combined, instead of categorizes for corporate interest.

    NO I'm not buying your music, I will only support talent and real musicians who
    spent at least 20-30 grand in a commercial facility, as a return for what they invested
    in themselves. NO I'm not supporting your career. BRING BACK NAPSTER!!

    Reply
  • November 20, 2019 at 8:13 pm
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    That's why I started releasing new music every week until Xmas. Will see how it's going! (feel free to check out my new singles!)

    Reply
  • November 21, 2019 at 3:31 am
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    Awesome video!

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  • November 21, 2019 at 5:15 am
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    And the negatives coming from streaming just keeps piling on.

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  • November 21, 2019 at 7:56 am
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    You make It sound like the current state of the music industry Is super cool and dope and there's nothing to worry about, when in reality It just freaking sucks

    Reply
  • November 21, 2019 at 8:25 am
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    Meanwhile in germany:
    Limiting songs to 2:50 repeat the chorus 3 times having 3 Features and buying spotify clicks to get famous!!!

    Reply
  • November 21, 2019 at 10:26 pm
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    Streaming is NOT the biggest source of revenue in the music industry. Touring is and will most likely always be. Idk who allowed this statement to happen.

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  • November 22, 2019 at 2:00 am
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    I love how you state the BS line "a new away for an artist to bring new attention to their work. Yet, Artist's are getting the payouts they should be receiving. The streaming services and the record labels are getting the biggest piece of the $streaming services pie.

    The Streaming music ( scam) model is not sustainable. More talent will simply go back to pressing Lp's and CDs..

    Also, great songs of the 50's & 60 's ( Motown) were below 3 minutes. So, there's nothing new here.

    Reply
  • November 22, 2019 at 5:26 pm
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    watching this makes me wanna puke. people embracing streaming dont realise how bad it actually is for the music world!

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  • November 22, 2019 at 9:36 pm
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    i donwload the music and listnen to it , no need to wast my monet on those streamin service to listen to stupid gouffy trap flows

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  • November 22, 2019 at 11:51 pm
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    The average song length in the 1960s was like 2.5 mins

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  • November 23, 2019 at 1:16 am
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    Complete fraud – songs in the 60s and late 50s, especially in America – used to be shorter than 3 minutes, Then it was pushed to the technical regulations – FM radio had their own schedule and it was the biggest distribution channel, that why we still have such thing as a 'radio version'. Since then duration only got longer and longer – especially in the newer songs – take a look at Travis Scott and his long ballada, ie Sicko Mode – 5:22. Second thing, is that streaming aint even close to the concerts and touring – it is the biggest source of income due to sponsorships and large network of marketing. Author is a con man and should be sentenced to exile in to Alabama News.

    Reply
  • November 23, 2019 at 3:40 am
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    Lil' Pump knew this years ago

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  • November 23, 2019 at 7:55 am
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    "Songs are getting shorter"

    Bro songs used to be 2 minutes in the 50s

    Reply
  • November 23, 2019 at 12:10 pm
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    4:24
    Super radio phonic voice

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  • November 23, 2019 at 6:43 pm
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    The biggest source of revenue is touring.

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  • November 23, 2019 at 8:03 pm
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    No it’s not keep making music that you make. This video’s title is trash asf. If our just starting out in music go on your daw and literally press keys and make music or make drums or make what you want to. Don’t watch videos they’re useless. Find something you like and experiment.

    Reply
  • November 24, 2019 at 12:35 am
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    you mean 2 minutes.

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  • November 24, 2019 at 9:27 am
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    You're wrong. Streaming is not the biggest source of income for musicians. It's tickets for live shows.

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  • November 24, 2019 at 4:19 pm
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    As a music lover all genres and sound technician, this is ridiculous. The stupidest thing i have listen "average length of songs in 2018" Stupid as say something like in 2019 the only average weapon is a spoon the other weapons are in the past now because now we don't have time to go and catch the knife or the gunfire haha. The average length of songs is different on each single genre, rap goes from 3 to 6min, metal 2 to 13min, pop 3 to 4min, Techno 4 to 9min, Hardcore 1 to 3min.

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  • November 24, 2019 at 7:11 pm
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    good video

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  • November 24, 2019 at 8:02 pm
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    That's ok. Prog Metal is still getting longer

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  • November 24, 2019 at 8:18 pm
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    ur dumb

    Reply
  • November 26, 2019 at 4:08 am
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    ay the boy jeff

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  • November 26, 2019 at 12:03 pm
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    Excuse me

    Reply
  • November 26, 2019 at 4:31 pm
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    Am here because i read " Screaming is changing the way songs are written " wel you might think am creasy but i listen to metal and i like this video anyway.. very instructive

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  • November 26, 2019 at 8:55 pm
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    streaming is NOT the biggest source of revenue unless you are a soundcloud rapper

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  • November 26, 2019 at 9:56 pm
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    Brand new sharks…

    Reply
  • November 26, 2019 at 10:28 pm
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    I made 60k last year selling beats and lyrics.. Without really even trying. I figure ill be a millionaire 3 years from now. Life is easy, Cheers!

    Reply
  • November 26, 2019 at 10:59 pm
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    Made with millions of dollars of equipment then paid 0.004c per stream lol.

    Reply
  • November 27, 2019 at 12:39 am
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    Songs are getting shorter…. I guess it depends on what genre and type of music.

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  • November 27, 2019 at 12:43 am
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    this is a nice "repost" ad

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  • November 27, 2019 at 1:09 am
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    This is very true. There are actually alot of songs coming out in hip hop thats like 1 minute long and Im not exaggerating. They even make music videos for them lol and tbh… most of the songs tend to have shallow content and arent even catchy. Such a waste imo but i guess they do it for the streams.

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  • November 27, 2019 at 1:13 am
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    It's actually sad haha

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  • November 27, 2019 at 6:59 am
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    Interesting. Glad I love my non-music day job: glad I love to make music for the love of making music.

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  • November 27, 2019 at 7:31 am
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    I clicked cause the thumbnail looks like he's playing Minecraft.

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  • November 27, 2019 at 4:12 pm
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    it's weird how people say things like Volume war is over, it may be over for pop commercial , but for dnb/dubstep it's not lol , people can make songs that last over 7 mins who cares..

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  • November 27, 2019 at 8:47 pm
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    1:18 Lol, 'Ponchick' means 'donut' in Russian.

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  • November 27, 2019 at 9:45 pm
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    this is how many people still use SoundCloud (soundcloud will never die) knocks on wood

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  • November 28, 2019 at 2:19 am
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    I make bass music/ old 2000s UK dubstep / garage and an average song length is about 4 mins

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  • November 28, 2019 at 2:35 am
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    I'd rather support the artists I like by showing up at their concert and buying their merch. If they callibrate their music to fit Spotify, then they just alter what they could have done, and that's sad.

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  • November 28, 2019 at 8:01 am
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    I think its more to do with these soundcloud rappers posting halfbaked ideas and calling them songs, and somehow they're making it the most popular genre.

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  • November 28, 2019 at 12:54 pm
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    流音乐正在改变歌曲的写作方式!

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  • November 28, 2019 at 4:32 pm
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    I think literally nothing has changed in the Pop-Industry. Neither the lenght, nor the quality. The first 30s have been important for radio plays as well to not loose people switching channels, for example. But still an interesting view on the topic to keep in mind, as also mastering and mixing techniques are actually influenced by streaming platforms loudness algorithms, see LUFS and Loudness War

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  • November 29, 2019 at 8:50 am
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    I'm 36 and mI remember my dad telling me that songs usually last 3 minutes…

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  • November 29, 2019 at 12:25 pm
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    lol most of the people on playlist are paying money to be on the playlist

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  • November 29, 2019 at 2:25 pm
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    They say that streaming could be dangerous because artists will make music just to reach millions of listeners. Mmm… this strategy is more than 50-years-old and has a name. It’s called Pop Music

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  • November 29, 2019 at 10:18 pm
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    The shorter song, the more you'll put it on repeat, the more plays of the song the artist gets more revenue and profits.

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  • November 29, 2019 at 10:20 pm
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    I want to hear bands not studio gangsters…

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  • November 30, 2019 at 5:42 pm
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    I think this is what they call overthinking things. I doubt Most artist say let me make this song 2 mins. Some people are lazy and don't want to write a second verse but don't want or cant pay for a feature. Half of these dude cant rap so if you cant rap but your a rapper your songs gonna be 2:30 tops. Hook, Verse, Hook, End.

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  • November 30, 2019 at 6:19 pm
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    LOL what a steaming pile of bullshit. Maybe higher BPMs are used these days. And there are plenty of tracks that approach 8 minutes. Go figure…

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  • November 30, 2019 at 7:57 pm
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    Great video and super interesting!

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  • November 30, 2019 at 11:06 pm
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    Disappointing to think that some of the best songs in modern music ("Stairway to Heaven," "Born to Run," "A Day in the Life," etc.) would be considered too long these days. Painful to think what we're missing out on because most listeners can't focus past the first 30 seconds. Almost seems like we're reverting back to the simplified bubble-gum stye music of the 1950s where songs were under 3 minutes and a dime-a-dozen.

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  • December 1, 2019 at 3:05 am
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    YouTube (streaming video) has done the same thing for videos – they've gone from full-length two-hour long movies and 30 minute shows to 5-10 minute clips. this is just one of many shifts in consumption as new technology makes content more accessible in our lives.

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  • December 1, 2019 at 10:37 am
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    This is stupid that means that I have to dumb my music down just to get plays I have long song's 5 min to 4 min most of them, but i'm actually talking about something i have to have long song's but if people can't listen to a 5 min song something is really wrong with people minds these days, well i'm not about change the way I make music for know body if it means selling my soul to get streams the hell with it I'm staying the same.

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  • December 1, 2019 at 11:54 pm
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    Industry dictatorships births landfill music. There is still a vast majority of people who listen to far better music outside of industry and popular trends setters. Music is more than art and business. It is the hugest expression of life. It supports all life. The longer the song. The happier I am.

    Reply
  • December 2, 2019 at 5:22 am
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    Ask one of these 'artists' what are the notes in a C major chord. deer in the headlights look

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  • December 2, 2019 at 1:01 pm
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    That's why American good artists are an exception these days… e.g. Frank Ocean

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  • December 2, 2019 at 6:21 pm
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    More like people are cutting out intros in 2019 so people dont get bored and hit next before the actual track starts

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  • December 2, 2019 at 8:57 pm
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    I'm in the process of writing an academic paper on streaming services.

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  • December 3, 2019 at 2:07 am
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    Songs have always been desired at 3:30 for radio play and the first 30 seconds has always been what labels first listen to to determine what they think a song is good. Nothing has changed

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  • December 3, 2019 at 2:21 am
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    I feel like I’ve worked in that light up studio. Is it in LA?

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  • December 3, 2019 at 5:49 am
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    How to enjoy music! Get some friends. Shun all music served to you via a 'playlist' (ie read sanitised). Pick up instruments. Make noises, record, repeat. Enjoy the unusual, the different, the unique. Be discerning! Modern music is on a path to going up its own sphincter – avoid that vortex!

    Reply
  • December 3, 2019 at 7:28 pm
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    …sorta like the recycling bin now being tailored to a more refined recycling bin, with redundancy and monotony as the featured elements……….no thanks

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  • December 6, 2019 at 11:49 am
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    I just make songs now with no verses just the hook over and over again

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  • December 9, 2019 at 3:06 pm
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    does anyone know how i can get in contact with repost, i tried searching them up and all i get is websites about Instagram reposts

    Reply

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