TikTok & The Tiny Tune Trend

This post is by Om Malik from On my Om

black smartphone showing time at 12 00

Even though we like to blame the shortening length of music tracks on TikTok, the fact is that songs have been getting shorter ever since we started to live on the Internet. Just as written content went from being longer to more ephemeral tweets, the same has happened with music, and TikTok has made things worse — much like how Twitter impacted the written word. 

“Just as more blog posts or tweets get more traffic and attention, shorter songs get more attention on streaming services. Did you know the average “top 100 pop song has shed 40 seconds, dropping from 4:10 in 2000 to around 3:30 in 2018?”

“The portion of sub-three-minute top 10 hits ballooned from just 4% in 2016 to 38% so far in 2022,” reports Billboard. In the sixties, you had sub-two minutes songs that hit the top 40. TikTok, like Twitter, has made things even shorter. An 83-second song just made it to the Too 100! 

“Streaming has, of course, changed our relationship with music,” writes Hanna Kalhert, a media analyst, “turning what was once a thoughtful, attention-intensive activity to a primarily ambient background media format.”

Streaming and how it pays out is partly to blame. If a song plays for 30 seconds on Spotify, it means a royalty payout. Shorter songs equal more streams, which in turn means more royalty. Of course, there are shorter attention spans — a song is good for only 15 seconds on TikTok! 

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