How did the 3-minute pop song evolve?

Think it has something to do with our attention spans, Can’t expand, on a personally level, beyond that. Although, seems like deep philosophical question, doesn’t it?

Len - Steal My Sunshine


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Pretty much to do with radio play was it not? Usually records tried to come in at around 2 and a half minutes so the right number of songs could be played per show including DJ chat, news and advertising.

That’s why there was such a big hoo-hah about Bohemian Rhapsody and Kenny Everett (I think) flouted the rules of the day somewhat by playing the whole thing in full.

Although he was on the BBC wasn’t he? So no adverts to worry about. That song length thing may go some way to explaining Radio 1’s popularity, I guess.

Aye, the advert bit was more US radio stations when rock n roll was first coming out. I think they’d just flat refuse to play anything above 3 minutes regardless of how good it was. Everett was breaking from the norm (or breaking the rules for his pal’s band)

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I have it in my head that the popularity of the jukebox was instrumental in making songs shorter - the shorter the songs, the more money the jukebox made, so artists were under pressure to do songs that weren’t more than 3 minutes. This might be nonsense though.

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It started as a 1 second pop song, and over time, grew small legs, dragging itself from the sea to the land until it was nearly 20 seconds long. Over many millennia it grew more and more complex until it reached the evolutionary pinnacle that is Kasabian’s Eez-eh:

(subthread, three minute pop songs that are exactly 3 minutes long, the above being a case in point)…


I say case in point, bullsh*tipidia thinks it is 3 mins, itunes thinks it is 2:59 and Vevo thinks it is 3:02.

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not sure where it was, but a few years ago i read an article about Ok Computer and the writer explain how it felt to turn on Radio One at about 6/7pm and unexpectedly hearing the full cut of Paranoid Android and being completely blown away

i think the current format and length of format is to do with sales

fucking everything in a commercial product is to do with selling more and making more profit

so probably that

Getting people to cram cash into jukeboxes