Does anyone know if there's a reason songs are almost always around five minutes long?

Seriously. Type any song into youtube, and No more than 3% will not be roughly five minutes long. Why is that?


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Most Helpful Guy

  • It's like with movies too. There's a certain length that is just perfect. If you went to a cinema and it turned out the movie is only half an hour in length, you'd be disappointed. If it turned out the movie takes 6 hours, you would probably consider going home somewhere in the middle.
    However, apart from this general rule of thumb about length, you should also know that this is mostly a "cultural" feature of our current time. It hasn't always been like that. If you research a bit about protest songs from the 1960s and early 1970s, you will notice that many of them are 20, 30 or even 40 minutes in length. And of course there's classical music, where pieces generally tend to be much longer. There are operas that last for 4 or even 5 hours.
    On the other hand, there are also musicians and bands that are famous for producing very short (and yet very famous and catchy) songs. Take the Beatles. Go on youtube and look up a couple of Beatles songs. You will realize that 90% of them are around 2,5 minutes. I can only think of one or two Beatles songs that even reach the 5-minutes mark.

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What Girls Said 1

  • Any longer and we lose interest...

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What Guys Said 3

  • Most people do not possess the attention span for a twenty-minute prog rock song. Simple verse-chorus-verse structures work best for us commoners.

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  • So it fits neatly into a radio slot to enhance marketability

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  • Marketing. People lose attention after 3 or 4 minutes. Most songs have two verses and a hook. That's at least three minutes and then maybe a bridge along with a opening and closing. They know that people would probably want more if at 2 minutes, but would want less after 5 minutes.

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