From (G)I-DLE to NewJeans, the dominance of short-length songs and emergence of new “music grammar” 

K-pop hit songs have reduced in length from 3 minutes to 2 minutes and 30 seconds. 

In the music industry, the length of a music release has been reduced significantly. For example, NewJeans released “Super Shy” which is only 2 minutes and 34 seconds long. It starts with a 12-second-long synthesizer and jumped into the key section of the song, creating a fast pace for an already short song. The same length also applies to other NewJeans’ songs, “ETA” (2 minutes 30 seconds), and “Cool With You” (2 minutes 27 seconds). 

After major music delivery media shifted from CDs to music sources, hit songs in the 2010s were roughly 4 minutes long. PSY’s “Gangnam Style” was 3 minutes 42 seconds and BIGBANG’s “FANTASTIC BABY” was 3 minutes 52 seconds. 

It is apparent that the medium for a song affects its desirable length. As short-form content such as TikTok videos became popular, the length of hit songs decreased from around 2 minutes and 50 seconds to 2 minutes and 30 seconds. (G)I-DLE’s “Queencard” lasts for 2 minutes and 41 seconds, LE SSERAFIM’s “Jewellry” lasts for 2 minutes and 43 seconds, and Somi’s “Fast Forward” is 2 minutes and 40 seconds long. In response, K-pop agencies stated that they did not intentionally make shorter songs. They claimed it was due to the so-called changing “music grammar.” 

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Short-length songs have their advantages such as more dense performances and easier streaming process. They also have more virality on prominent platforms such as TikTok. 

Pop music critic Kim Do Heon said, “As the length of the song has been shortened, the introduction has definitely decreased compared to before, and the key melody of the song has often appeared right away,” adding, “As you can see in NewJeans ‘ETA,’ there is a strong tendency to focus on elements such as beats rather than key melodies (which take a lot of time).”

Source: naver 

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