The Whole Song Counts

Submitted by Peter Åstedt

It’s kind of bizarre how artists now actually pinpoint what section in the song I should listen. It’s actually very common. So just for example, today I got a song from a new artist with the elevator pitch “Hi there, thank you for taking the time to listen! I suggest you listen after 2.min as the song picks up stronger and more passionately.”

Then I wondered why didn’t you write the song with the same passion for the whole song? Sure, a song can have a best part, I know, but still, you don’t do just create part of a painting perfectly and then ask the audience to just look at that part right?

The sad part here is that the artist is probably doing the right thing. The whole society is hunting for fast kicks, and it goes faster and faster. TikTok has done so we now need something to happen in the picture in the very first second. Suddenly a long movie is three minutes long. Since the 80’s we have jumped from ninety minutes down to three minutes. Instant gratification is the highest priority, and I should get it in the first few seconds.

The young people look at people strangley when they talk about how they bought an album and then played it straight through, all songs and even checked out the cover artwork and credits of the record. Today, music is ten seconds and a silly dance routine to accompany it.

So, it’s not the artist that is silly telling me to start listening two minutes in the song. They just are prepared on how it works, so they assume I need direct satisfaction and must jump to the best part straight away.

Here is the problem. I need the whole song to play it on the radio station. I guess the song must be good even before that magic moment after two minutes. I must present stuff to my listeners, so they actually stay on the channel. More and more I doubt that I can do that, with the speed of entertainment and the need for new kicks every second no entertainment will be worth anything. See a whole theater play, no way that takes hours. See a football game, no way take out the highlights and press in them in a 30 second clip is the current trend.

This is probably why we don’t listen to new music. If you are going for that speed of entertainment you need to know the songs straight away and jump to the best part straight away. You are going to miss out though, the fantastic songs that need a bit more listening and where you grow with the song. You will miss a lot of beautiful art just jumping around and finding small kicks of entertainment. You are not entertained;  you just look for fast ways not to be bored.

And here is the main problem. You have over 10 million TV channels. 60,000 new songs released every day. An unlimited stream of video games. And you are thinking you have nothing to do?

Science has proven that if you get too many choices you start to pick nothing or go for the things you know. That is why stores don’t have massive selections, the more selections they sell less product. It has to be in the perfect amount. We now have gone too far over that threshold. 

Editor’s Note: Peter Åstedt has been working in the music industry for over 35 years. He has started record labels, distribution systems, and publishing companies. Peter also runs several major showcase festivals and is an advisor for INES and co-founder of MusicHelp/Discover Sensation. He has worked with the Top Ten most streamed songs and had music on both the Olympics and Super Bowl. Peter has currently taken up the seat of Station Manager of Cashbox Radio, working with MD, PD and station owner, Sandy Graham. In 2021, he worked as the European Consultant for Heal the Earth – An Earth Day Celebration. His latest venture is a new Showcase Festival in Sweden, Future Echoes Peter is a Managing Partner and Editor of the legendary Record World International and also sits on the Board of Directors for the Canadian-based charity, The Drive Foundation.