We all want to get more plays on Spotify, amirite? It’s the biggest service for music on the internet right now. But have you ever wondered what the best length is for the songs you plan to upload? Today we’ll look into just that.
How Long Does a Song Have to Be to Pay Out on Spotify?
Spotify requires an audio track to be at least 30 seconds long. Your digital distributor may have longer requirements (I think DistroKid requires 60 seconds). To get paid for a stream on Spotify, a listener must also listen to a track for at least 30 seconds. So the absolute minimum length for your song is 30 seconds if you want to make any money on that platform.
Because they are the largest streaming platform, it’s a good idea to follow their guidelines over those of the lesser services like Pandora, Apple Music, etc. Clearly, the average song is a lot longer than 30 seconds. So the question now becomes: how long should your song be for the enjoyment of your listeners?
How Long Should I Make My Song?
You may want to try out songs that are slightly shorter than average. Let me explain a bit.
The average song length is usually listed as about 3 minutes. However, song lengths are actually decreasing over time.
Researchers at UCLA poked around into Spotify’s data and found that mean song length peaked in the 1990s; back then, the average was approximately 4 minutes. But by 2020, the average was back down to 3 minutes and 17 seconds…the average hasn’t been this low since the 1930s.
Now I’m not here to argue why song length is shrinking. Maybe it’s shorter attention spans. Who really knows. But I do know a reason why you should jump on that bandwagon:
Shorter songs may get more plays.
I cannot take credit for this point. I found it in a YouTube video, I think. But after an hour of searching the web and digging through my bookmarks, I cannot find the specific video yet. But here’s how the thinking goes…
Shorter Songs = More Plays?
If your song is only a minute or so, but it’s a real banger, fans may listen to the track and feel like they didn’t get enough of it. This would be especially true if you skip on a bridge and last chorus. So what’s a fan to do?
Hit replay, that’s what.
A song that’s 1:30 long and gets played twice will come out to 3 minutes in total listening time. But it would count as 2 streams instead of one. Same amount of content for twice the profit.
So make sure your song is at least 30 seconds but no more than 3 minutes (if you want to have hit potential, at least). Between 1:30 and 2:30 may be the sweet spot, but as always it depends on the track and genre.
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