Monday, April 23, 2012

A Nagging Vinyl Record Question - Why ARE Today's Pop Songs About Three And A Half Minutes Long Anyway?

To this day, the standard for popular music, tracks for play on commercial radio, continues to be about three and a half minutes in length. This may be the reason why. 
Phonograph Cylinders. 

were the earliest medium for recording and reproducing sound to be marketed commercially. Commonly known simply as "records" in their heyday (c. 1888–1915). These had an audio recording engraved on the outside surface which could be heard when the cylinder was played on a 

 These cylinders could contain a maximum of about two minutes of sound. Commercial mass production of phonograph cylinders ended in 1929. Then the 12-inch disc, was introduced by Victor in 1903. 

This increased the maximum playing time to about three and a half minutes. A 10-inch 78 rpm record could hold about three minutes of sound per side and the 10-inch size was the standard size for popular music, so almost all popular recordings were limited to around three minutes in length.

 So now you know why it may be that today's Pop songs traditionally pressed on 7" 45RPM vinyl records are almost always about three and a half minutes long.

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