In the pop industry, most radio hits typically can’t be longer than three to four minutes. Case in point, the top three songs currently on the Billboard Hot 100. In the early 1900s, the most common way to release music was via a 10-inch record.
In the early 1900s, the most common way to release music was via a 10-inch record. The 10″ usually played at a speed of 78 revolutions per minute (rpm), which measures the frequency of a rotation.
Produced and co-penned by hitmaker Phil Spector, the song was actually 3:45 minutes, much longer than its contemporaries. Unwilling to cut it down, Spector stamped 3:05 minutes on the single, so DJs would play it without realizing its actual length.
Modern pop charts show that artists still stick to the three- to four-minute mold, though radio restrictions are no longer as ironclad. For that, musicians can thank Bob Dylan.
Unlike the pop scene, folk artists of the ’60s typically recorded longer songs, Tierney says. They didn’t care for singles, which were more for trying to climb the Top 40. Instead, they focused on “selling LPs in college towns,” Tierney says.
Then the coordinator of new releases, Considine sent the track to a popular Manhattan DJ. According to History, the track spread like wildfire, peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard pop charts. It was an unprecedented success and a “watershed moment in pop history,” Tierney says. Read more…