A doctoral student in music theory at Ohio State University has made an amazing discovery about human evolution, and if you are an ambitious musician, it might just be the information you need to sell a lot of records.
According to new research coming out of Ohio State University, songs over the past 30 years have become faster, and shorter, in an endeavor to keep listeners attention locked in.
And it’s not just the music, says student Hubert Léveillé Gauvin, who conducted the astonishing research.
Even the song titles of today are shorter when compared to the music of the 80s and early 90s.
“It’s exactly like an evolution, it’s survival of the fittest” – Hubert Léveillé Gauvin to The Lantern, Ohio State University
“As your environment changes, you need to adapt yourself … if your environment is more competitive, you need to make something to grab people’s attention if you want to make it,” the author of the study continued.
Hubert gave an example of two records he compared, to highlight the extreme difference between songs of yesterday and those of today.
For instance, in 1986, Whitney Houston had a hit single with her song “How Will I Know,” which was compared to Pharrell Williams’ hit 2014 hit single “Happy.”
“One word in the title, very easy to remember, the tempo is much faster, something like 160 BPMs, it takes two seconds before the voice comes in. The voice comes in right away,” he said. “So that’s a huge difference and those songs are prototypical of the broader things we’ve seen in music.”
This is not an accident, it is all being done by design, to entice, you the listener, to spend your money.
Thanks to the rise of so many streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube, to name a few, “attention” has become an actual resource, worth billions of dollars to the streaming companies.
“You can think of attention as the currency of the information age,” Léveillé Gauvin said. “Because attention is both scarce and valuable, it can be thought of as a currency, like the U.S. dollar.”
Check out the full study here.