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Poll: How long should a tune be to attract listeners?

Wade Cornell

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Would like to hear an honest reaction from those who post and listen so that everyone has some idea of when a posted tune may be too long to get listened to.

Should be obvious that when someone posts their concert or night's jam session that goes on for hours that almost nobody is going to listen through.

I'll listen to almost anything that's 4 minutes or less. Possibly a little longer if I know the player and (generally) like their playing. If opening a tune and see it's too long, it gets cancelled.

What's your level?
 

thesaxman71

Well-Known Member
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1,689
I have same thoughts you have on the subject, in fact, probably most of us do so 3-6 minutes is a good benchmark.
 

dubrosa22

Senior Member
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414
Personally I think that these days if you don't catch their ear in the first 30 seconds or so people just click off.

So if you have a an amazing piece that's 12 minutes long I don't see why if it grabs folks attention early on their attention won't be sustained the whole duration. Likewise a piece that's 3 minutes long could easiily be skipped over if the first minute or so is uninteresting.

V
 
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OP
Wade Cornell

Wade Cornell

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Personally I think that these days if you don't catch their ear in the first 30 seconds or so people just click off.

So if you have a an amazing piece that's 12 minutes long I don't see why if it grabs folks attention early on their attention won't be sustained the whole duration. Likewise a piece that's 3 minutes long could easiily be skipped over if the first minute or so is uninteresting. V
This would be a very good attitude as it sounds like you're giving everything a listen until it no longer warrants your attention. Just not sure that anyone else does this and may react the way I do in opening a tune and then seeing that it's 10 minutes long so don't even want to start. Would be nice if everyone gave everything a go like you do, but I doubt that's happening.

For those of us who don't give everything a go the question remains: what's the amount of time you'd accept for giving a listen?
 

Marcello

Senior Member
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228
I tend to agree with Du, if it does not catch me on the first minute, it is gone. I stop.
I normally give a go to everything because I hope people give a go on my recordings.... :w00t:
If they don't enjoy, just stop it! >:)

As a listener I think that a tune 4 to 5 minutes long is ok but it will of depend on the "catching" thing.
A tune may be 2 minutes long but if it is not enjoyable, 30s can be more than enough.

Cheers
 

Chris

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3,864
3 to 6 mins is about right. But, I could switch off after 30 secs if something doesn't catch my ear.
 

Clivey

Senior Member
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907
I think the real answer for me probably depends on the context. I can easily sit down and listen to long classical pieces simply as they are constantly developing and are usually more instrumentally varied than pop or jazz. It`s the same with progressive rock. I think that when we talk about modern popular music it is really important to understand that the duration is often a certain length due to the need to spin it out. This may be because it has lyrical content or in many cases because the music is designed to be danced to. I don`t dance nowadays but from what I can remember people will often dance for the duration of a tune barring the intro So musicians wishing to either pad out the set or in fact record a version of such material fall into a pattern/ habit which then gets seen as the norm.

I think that when composing the perfect piece it should be the length it has to be in order to state it`s case., It`s often just a brief sketch or it may require movement. As far as what we can expect from a listener then it`s probably fair to say that they are not going to listen to 6 minutes of your stuff unless they have already listened to 1 min then 3 & 4 mins blah blah and enjoyed it.
 

Profusia

Senior Member
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986
I never think to look at how long a recording will run before I play it. If its been going on what seems a longer than normal time I might then look to see how long its going to go on for. Whether I'd switch it off early and how soon depends upon why I'm listening. If I just randomly landed on a tune and was only listening for pleasure I'd give it a while unless it was really dire. If appraising other members postings I usually listen to the whole piece whatever (although will admit to occasional exceptions). If searching for a version of a song I want to get a feeling for and hear some versions of I might turn off pretty quickly if its not floating my boat.

PS when I play though, I'm not at the stage of trying to craft a perfect piece of art. I'm just trying to record where I'm at in terms of my ability to play the dots or to improvise something melodic over the harmonies, so I may drone on way past the boredom barrier without worrying about it.
 
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Sue

If at first you don't succeed try try try a Gin
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Generally for recordings posted on here I open them up in a different tab and carry on reading whilst listening. If I'm enjoying it, I really listen and then replay it. If it doesn't grab me it still plays out but I don't notice it in the background. If I hate it I close the tab. I don't really think about the time.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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I'm Off in 30 secs or less, unless it grabs me by then. If it grabs me, I'll probably listen until the end, but no guarantees
 

Colin the Bear

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12,601
I don't look how long a piece is before listening. A good piece of music is timeless. Only when it finishes do you realise that time has passed. I'll listen to anything. If it's long and I haven't the time to finish it, I'll bookmark it and come back later. The first 10 seconds is long enough for me to know if I want to continue. After that it depends how it's going.
 

Jamesmac

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1,882
Ill cut to the chase Wade. I always listen to your clips, because i like to suffer. Joking:w00t:No seriously, i think you are always interesting and even if it seems to go out of control, sometimes, with you guitar friend, i never feel that its time wasted. Which is more the point for all of us. Just play long enough to get your point across then get off stage. I have played on the occasion when they were screaming out for more:shocked: and i also remember someone telling me. Leave them wanting more.
 

altissimo

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3,356
"Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so." - Ford Prefect

If the music's good, it doesn't matter how long it is
 
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Wade Cornell

Wade Cornell

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Thanks all for the replies. Sounds like many of you are very open in your listening and will give almost everything a go until you just can't take it. Fair enough. The hope was to come up with a subtle suggestion for those who post (all of us included) for how much time is a reasonable ask from your perspective audience.

Have also noticed that many who answered are "the usual suspects" who post themselves. If those who answered that they give everything a listen are the norm, then why do we all see so few plays compared to the number of hits on the post, and even fewer replies?

Probably should have just asked if anyone has ideas how those who post here could better engage more listeners and develop quality feedback. There's a great pool of talent out there and the opportunity for those learning (or advanced players) to get valuable feedback in a safe environment. Some are successfully utilizing this, but it seems like too few. I guess there are also different types of posters, e.g. some who want and require feedback that will assist growth, and those who just want to share what they are doing and don't want critical comments.

Your thoughts?
 

altissimo

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3,356
well, I've yet to post any of my music on here, afraid that an angry mob would descend upon Chateau Altissimo and burn me at the stake for crimes against saxophones... but my Soundcloud and Bandcamp stats would indicate that there are people in far flung parts of the world who've heard my work and sometimes make favourable comments. Apparently, insanity is a worldwide problem and not just confined to my addled mind..

I would encourage people to upload their music to whatever places they can find and publicise it via forums and Facebook groups or any other social media - you never know who will like it - even if it doesn't lead to anything, it's gratifying when someone you've never met posts links to your Bandcamp page on a Russian music forum or you find that someone in Japan has found your music and likes it.
If someone as incurably weird as myself can get 168 Soundcloud followers or get 62 downloads off Bandcamp, then there's hope for all of you...
Nurse has just arrived with my medication, so I'll bid you all goodnight and bon voyage...
 

Marcello

Senior Member
Messages
228
Probably should have just asked if anyone has ideas how those who post here could better engage more listeners and develop quality feedback. There's a great pool of talent out there and the opportunity for those learning (or advanced players) to get valuable feedback in a safe environment. Some are successfully utilizing this, but it seems like too few. I guess there are also different types of posters, e.g. some who want and require feedback that will assist growth, and those who just want to share what they are doing and don't want critical comments.

Your thoughts?
I do listen to almost everything people post here...
I do not give often feedbacks because I am more trying to learn and try to copy the nice things some of you do.

some who want and require feedback that will assist growth
I fit in this group... so please don't be afraid of saying that you didn't like like my tone but please let me know why you didn't like. :thumb:

Cheers
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
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3,630
Good question Wade, I am in the category of being an occasional listener and sometime poster. I don't ever look at the length of the tune or even the titles, I just like to click and listen. Now, whether I make it all the way through a track or not depends on whether the track connects with my inner feelings I suppose. Although my taste varies greatly from say yours and some of the other players on this forum, I still give it a go just incase something triggers my "must listen more" button! Maybe it's the style of a piece, the phrasing or simply the tone of the player that catches my ear I don't really know. I know that whether I like the tune or not I can hear if I think that the player has gained something or achieved something. What I do know, good or bad I love to hear people making an attempt.

When I post, I'm more than happy for it to be torn apart! After all, this is a public forum and the world has an opinion that it's only too happy to share. I know that my playing is still very much at an amature stage (although sometimes I kid myself otherwise ;}) If I didn't welcome critique, then I wouldn't post.
 

randulo

Playing alto 25 months
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3,490
2013 called, they want my opinion on this, and you can chime in too, as I wake this sleeping thread up.

I believe today most agree that attention spans have shortened, even since 2013! There are listeners and then there are wall paper music listeners. Some people like background music when working or driving. Those are "long form" situations and have on tempo or feel for a long time is probably good for stability (driving) or energy level (working). However, I would also maintain that this is not really listening.

In my own listening from the 1970's to the 2020's, if I am listening, I like a performance to be between 2 and 12 minutes, if there's much improvisation and if that's worth hearing. In the middle of that range, 6-8 minutes is a nice length for exposition of theme, one or two solos and the repeat. I lust too a look at "Watermelon Man", a Studio Jams performance. Minus the rehearsal, it's 7 minutes of great funk-jazz. Coltrane's Spiritual is 10 minutes long and I love ever second of it. Roy Hargrove's Strasbourg-Saint Denis is 12 minutes of pure joy, too. On the Miles Davos Amandla album, most tunes pack a lot of music into five minutes or so.
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
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1,765
Ah yes, an interesting thread Wade. Like Randy, sorry I was way too young to catch the thread the first time around.

Yes the distinction is between the 'end user' (!) setting out to listen, or trying to attract and keep the attention of that end user.

I produced an album of my friends songs several years ago for the pop market. The average song started out as 5-6mins in length with intros, maybe even two-tiered being anything up to one minute before vocals. He isn't short on good thematic material, but it needs to get to the vocal these days and stay with the vocal pretty much - gone are the wonderful days days of 1970s pop where you were free-er to make music rather than a pop song. Early Rock n Roll always amazes me that each song is less than 3 mins yet has an intro, verse, chorus, intro, mid 8, intro, solo, chorus, chorus. Wow. That's content.

I cut all his intros to 10 secs or less and simplified the "hook" on the intro sections to one motif. Other parts of the songs were shortened too to bring virtually all in under 4 mins - arguably the best length for getting an unknown radio play. It was a really enjoyable experience. As @randulo says, there are different types of listener - one that sets out to listen to the music, one that might be grabbed by the music if it has certain criteria and others that use music as a backdrop.

@Wade Cornell makes the exact points that I believed in when producing the album - it's interesting that a musician is making these points too, not a 'lay-person'. Those of us that have listened to - and enjoyed - Prog Rock will mind less about the criteria that Wade lays out, but I for one have to be in the mood to listen to a 'musical novel', unless it is a piece of classical music.
 

randulo

Playing alto 25 months
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3,490
each song is less than 3 mins yet has an intro, verse, chorus, intro, mid 8, intro, solo, chorus, chorus.
Remember, that was in the day AM radio. The DJ wanted to talk over the intro, it was an "art" to do a coherent voice over right up to the hook. The radical change came with Cream, Hendrix, Grateful Dead, Beatles, Stones... LONG FORM! Drugs powered that, pot and psychedelics. (I was there and I don't remember it.) And remember too, that in the 1940's, some intros were as long as the AAB sections! The intro of Someone to Watch Over Me by Ella is 25% of the recording: 12 seconds of strings, followed by a full minute of sung intro. The entire performance is 4 and a half minutes. Talk about content!
 
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