Fascinating: Here’s how the DNA of songs has changed over the last 20 years

Midia Research likes to really get under the hood when it comes to examining trends in music and music consumption. They’ve just taken a look at the Billboard Top 10 between July 2000 and July 2020 and have come to the following conclusions.

  1. Hit songs are getting shorter. The average length of a hit in 2000 was 4 minutes and 22 seconds. Now it’s 3 minutes and 42 seconds.
  2. Hits are becoming more homogeneous when it comes to genre. Hip-hop dominates the Top 10 today, accounting for about 60% of positions. Twenty years ago, that part of the chart was equally divided between pop, rock, and R&B.
  3. It takes more people to write a hit these days. The average number of credited composers on a 2020 hit is four. Back in 2000, it was 2.4.
  4. There are more collaborations and features in the Top 10 than ever before. In 2000, there were no such songs in the Top 10. Today, that’s up to 60%.

Mark Mulligan of Midia sums the changes up like this: “The dominant theme underpinning these changes in the DNA of hits is reducing risk. More songwriters, more collaborations, shorter songs, shorter intros, fewer genres all point to honing a formula, following a blueprint for success. This evolution will continue to gather pace until the next format shift rewrites the rules.”

The entire report can be found here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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