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Repetitive Beat Injury

May 8, 2019

BDR-deep

I read a Facebook post today from someone who produces some kind of dance music, probably house related. He’d been playing his music with some children listening. Because his tunes started and ended with long sections of beats, they said:  “Your music sounds all the same”. These beats were for DJs to beat match in and out of.

Back in the 90s, when we first started making our weird hybrid forms of electronica, we didn’t go clubbing very much and, if we did, it wasn’t to house, techno or garage clubs where maintenance of a consistent unbroken beat was a functional necessity. So, we never did the long intro and outro thing.

I have always thought that if we were making music for listening to at home, even if it was within one of those styles, there was no functional need for that. That structure was to benefit DJs who beat match. I’ve always thought there must be a market for music rooted in club culture but designed to be listened to at home by people who either don’t go to clubs any more for whatever reason (age, families etc) or who never did but just like the music.  This music would not need the extended into and outro beats.

More recently, as most people now access music through streaming services, a key metric used by sites such as Spotify is how long people listen to a track before clicking “next”.  It’s 15 to 20 seconds, in case you were wondering. Spotify doesn’t pay the rights holder until 30 seconds has been played  – and how long a track is played also affects how its playlist algorithms treat the track. Tunes played all the way through have more traction. That’s two good reasons to keep people listening for as long as possible.

We must, in this modern day, get to point when writing a tune.  We need to get people’s attention early and retain it.

The most popular tunes are, apparently, also four minutes or less in length.

I think we’ll start writing a few shorter, snappier, tunes with strong hooks and see what happens.

If we can!

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