How Long Should a Song Be? (5 Things to Consider)

The length of a song is a contentious issue. Record labels and artists have been known to argue over the length of songs, as well as how many times they can be released before being considered “old.”

The how long is a song on average is a question that has been asked for a while. There are 5 things to consider when answering this question.

If you’re a songwriter, you know that there are a lot of things to think about while creating a song. The lyrics and chord progressions are always essential in conveying the atmosphere and message, but the duration of the song is frequently neglected, particularly by novice composers. So, how lengthy does a song have to be? Should we, as songwriters, be putting these kinds of restrictions on ourselves in the first place?

To these queries, the simple response is that it all depends. While the current industry norm for popular songs is 3 to 3 1/2 minutes, we’ve seen a number of excellent and successful songs that are both longer and shorter. Because every composer has distinct styles, ideas, and objectives, there is no one-size-fits-all guideline for the duration of the songs you create. Here are five factors to think about when it comes to the duration of your songs to assist you figure out how long you should write them.

1. Your Fans’ Expectations of You


The first thing you should think about are your followers, who will most likely be the first to hear your new original song. When it comes to listening to your music, how do your audience like to hear it? What if you altered your songwriting formula? How would people react? Do you have greater freedom in the kind of music you produce at this stage in your career, or do your audience have expectations of what they want to hear from your songs? When it comes to your followers, you should ask yourself these questions.

It is up to the artist to put together their unique compositions in any way they see fit, but if they want their music to be successful, they must listen to their audience. If you think you can be more flexible with your s0ng length without offending your followers, go for it. It may be a refreshing twist that your followers will like. Simultaneously, if you discover that your listeners like your music because it is brief and to the point, don’t fix what isn’t broken. Continue to write songs that are appropriate for where you are in your musical career.

Always remember that the songs you write are your art, but while putting them together, keep your listeners in mind.

2. Do you want to be a radio personality?


Another thing to think about is if one of your primary objectives is to have your music played on the radio. Although getting on mainstream radio is improbable, if that is your ultimate aim, it is better to learn the formula today. Get used to the format of the music you hear on the radio.

The typical song duration on the radio is between 3 and 5 minutes, although it’s usually closer to 3 to 3 1/2 minutes. We need to talk about the history of music and radio to understand why things are the way they are.

Music and Radio in History

Flat recordings known as “78s” were produced between 1858 and the late 1950s. Due to storage constraints, these records spun at 78 revolutions per minute, limiting the duration of a song. There were two sizes available: a 10-inch disc with three minutes of music and a 12-inch disc with four minutes of music.

The RCA 45 rpm disk was launched in the mid-1950s and soon surpassed the 78 rpm. Instead of shellac, they were constructed of vinyl, which made them more durable and portable. They were also less expensive to produce and purchase, making them simpler to sell to adolescents at the time. However, the storage restriction was the same as the 78, limiting the music to approximately three minutes. 45s were utilized by radio stations to transmit live music. This meant that bands and artists would have to adhere to the song duration restrictions if they wanted their music to be played on the radio.

Even now, this is what affects the song duration limits on the radio.

The Present

You’d think that the 3-minute restriction would be a thing of the past since technology improves every day, particularly in the music business. This, however, is not the case. The average duration of a song on the radio is still 3 to 5 minutes. While this is mostly true for commercial radio stations, there are alternative choices available. Thanks to streaming services and platforms, you may now listen to music on internet radio stations. Local radio stations, on the other hand, may not be as rigorous about song durations. These stations may be found in your local communities and universities. It is much simpler for musicians and artists to reach a larger audience with their songs.

3. Is it possible to split the song into two parts?


If you’ve created a longer song, consider if it’s feasible to divide it into two parts. It’s all too easy for us songwriters to get caught up in the moment while we’re creating new songs. We’re simply going to keep composing like there’s no tomorrow, which will result in a lengthier song. While it may be tempting to keep it as is, a better approach would be to investigate whether the song might be divided into two halves. If it’s feasible, you’ll be in a win-win position, with two new unique tunes in your repertoire. If you don’t think it’s feasible, don’t push it; you may end up doing more damage than good to your music.

Of course, dividing the song into two parts will result in additional effort. You’ll have to make fresh musical changes to both songs, which will take longer, but it’ll all be worth it in the end.

4. Do You Need a Longer Song to Get Your Point Across?


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Try to think out the ideal method to convey your song’s message, similar to the last subject we covered. As I previously said, when we get into the flow of writing, we may write more than is required. The message that our songs convey is equally as essential as the music and words. What makes songwriting so enjoyable is the variety of methods in which we may convey our message via our music. You may include as many verses and choruses as you like in your song, but is it really essential for your message?

This is why it’s crucial to alter and review your music. After all, it’s an important element of the songwriting process that should never be overlooked. It may be more helpful if you can convey the message of your song in less time. Your music will be simpler to listen to for your listeners. Our attention spans are shorter these days, making it difficult to devote our attention to lengthier tunes.

A song that is just a few minutes long may be just as powerful as a song that is several minutes long. It encourages us to create more powerful lyrics that convey the ideas we’re attempting to convey via our music. When writing, bear in mind that it’s occasionally feasible to say what you want with less words. You may need to be more inventive while putting your music together.

5. What Will Bring You Joy?


Of course, your personal pleasure with the music you create is one of the most essential factors to consider. Songwriting is a very personal art form in which we may express ourselves via music and words. It’s a wonderful method for us to really express ourselves. While it is essential to follow a particular song formula in order to achieve maximum success, you should never overlook your personal pleasure and fulfillment.

If you reduced a song to suit the mold established by the music business but are unhappy with it, don’t be scared to go back to the original version. It’s easy to forget that we write music for ourselves as much as for other people. When composing music, it’s critical that we prioritize our personal pleasure.

When it comes to composing, there are certain drawbacks to constantly attempting to restrict oneself to specific song lengths. It may be taxing on the creative side, leading to songwriting burnout. Always keep in mind that you must be satisfied with the music you write.

Last Thoughts

As you can see, addressing this question isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. Every song we create has a unique method, which may result in a shorter or longer song. If there’s one thing we want you to remember from this essay, it’s that you can create a powerful song even if it’s just a few minutes long. At the same hand, due to all of the new venues accessible to musicians and artists, a song that is longer has the potential to be successful in a musical environment where 3-minute pop songs are the norm.

We hope that this article has assisted you in determining the length of the songs you are composing. Best of luck with your songwriting, and we hope you keep making music that makes you happy.

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There are a few things that you should consider before deciding on the length of your song. For example, how long is your song? What genre do you play? How many people will be listening to it? Reference: is 5 minutes too long for a song.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is 4 minutes too long for a song?

4 minutes is the maximum time limit for a song on Beat Saber PS4.

What are the 5 steps to making a song?

A: 1. Choose a song to make a song from 2. Select the type of beat you want 3. Choose the difficulty level 4. Add in effects and sounds 5. Upload your finished song

How long should a song take to make?

A song should take about an hour to make.

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