Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Radio Format That Cuts Songs In Half

Songs cut in half by radio format image
Here's a trend that's either great or horrible, depending upon how you look at it. A few years ago a new radio format appeared with the main purpose of fitting more songs per hour onto the playlist.

How's that done? By editing the songs so they're about 1/2 to 2/3rds their normal release length.

The format is called Quickhitz and its slogan is "twice the music in half the time." It promises to play 24 song per hour as a result.

Some examples include:
Lorde, “Team,” 1:52 (vs. 3:32) 
Clean Bandit, “Never Be,” 2:23 (vs. 3:45) 
Magic!, “Don’t Kill The Magic,” 2:13 (vs. 3:39) 
Iggy Azalea, “Fancy,” 2:07 (vs. 3:16)
JRDN, “Can’t Choose,” 2:20 (vs. 3:57) 
Sam Smith, “Stay With Me,” 2:02 (vs. 2:53)
Marianas Trench, “Pop Music 101,” 2:11 (vs. 4:07)
Zedd. “Clarity,” 2:00 (vs. 3:56)
The format hasn't exactly caught on, and where it's been implemented there's been substantial backlash, although mostly from artists on the playlist and not the public.

If you're an artist you can look at this format two ways - If there are more slots on the playlist, there's more chance for new music to find a place, or, "You're messing with my art by editing it."

As for the latter, that might not be a great argument since radio has had specially edited songs for 50 years to fit in the format.

So while you may not hear Quickhitz on one of your local radio tomorrow, the next time you do hear a station that seems to be playing more songs than normal, you know what you're listening to.


Nancy said...

Intersting post Bobby. It seems like it's always been rare for songs over 3 minutes to get commercial radio play, and even the 3 minute songs often get cut off at the ends or talked-over by the DJ. I've also noticed this trend in club DJing too, where DJs will just play 1-2 minutes of a track before quickly cutting to the next one (usually it's just drop after drop after drop). To me it seems like the natural result of our 30-second-soundbyte culture. Everything gets shorter and louder to compete for increasingly limited attention spans. I often wonder how low the song-time-limbo game will go, and if the trend will ever swing in the other direction (back towards long complex songs). Also, is this happening in other countries too, or just the US market?

Bobby Owsinski said...

This is happening more in Canada than the US at the moment, Nancy.

Kenn Toomey said...

Hopefully, this is cyclical, as Nancy suggested, but as the article stated, songs have been trimmed for radio for decades. I guess many people won't even notice, as they hear their favorite sing-along chorus, and not much more. A song should have a beginning, middle and end, not just the climax (chorus/hook). Like books movies, etc., there needs to be tension before the release; it feels more earned and more satisfying that way.

Johnny Pierre said...

This is, in a word: RIDICULOUS


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