Streaming services have been praised as the great equalizers in music, providing a platform for any artist to publish their music and potentially reach millions. However, these platforms are not without their drawbacks, as their algorithms can inadvertently influence creative decisions. Let's uncover the hidden influence of streaming on music creation.
CONFORMING TO THE ALGORITHM
Streaming platforms like Spotify use algorithms to suggest songs to listeners. These algorithms favor certain song characteristics, leading artists to tailor their music to fit these preferences. This can lead to a homogenization of music, stifling creativity and experimentation. 🎧
To increase the number of streams, and therefore revenue, artists are creating shorter songs. Shorter tracks mean more streams, as listeners can listen to more songs in a given time period. This shift has led to the decline of longer song formats like progressive rock epics and lengthy jazz improvisations.
SKIPPING THE INTRO
Spotify's algorithm counts a stream if a listener plays a song for at least 30 seconds. This has led to the death of the slow build-up, as artists now compose songs that grab the listener's attention immediately. The result? Fewer intros and quicker hooks. 🎵
I've started songs from the chorus because that's what Spotify's algorithm likes. - Billie Eilish
With streaming platforms, listeners are more likely to listen to playlists or individual songs rather than full albums. This shift in consumption has led to a decline in concept albums and a rise in single releases.
The streaming algorithm favors high-quality production, pushing artists towards an overproduced sound. This leads to a lack of raw and unpolished music, limiting the diversity of the music landscape. 🎛️
LESS DYNAMIC RANGE
To make a song stand out on a playlist, artists are mastering their songs to be louder, leading to less dynamic range. This trend, known as the "loudness war," can result in a loss of audio quality.
THE DEATH OF SILENCE
Silence, used effectively, can be a powerful tool in music. However, in the race for attention, songs on streaming platforms rarely incorporate silence, fearing listeners might skip their track.
Streaming has led to a surge in popular music genres like pop, hip-hop, and EDM. Less mainstream genres like folk, bluegrass, or classical have struggled to adapt to the algorithm's preference, leading to their marginalization.
I keep my songs under three minutes because that's what works on streaming platforms. - Lil Nas X
THE FUTURE OF MUSIC CREATION
While streaming platforms provide artists with immense opportunities, it's important to be aware of their influence on music creation. As artists, we should strive to maintain our creative integrity and not be swayed by algorithms. As listeners, we can make an effort to explore and support diverse music. 🎶
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