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A Calgary radio station is cutting songs in half so to not “bore” listeners

on August 07, 2014, 1:59pm

If you’re reading this sentence, it’s a given you like music. (Or, you got lost somewhere looking for guacamole recipes on Pinterest.) But you’re probably too busy with work and school and a social life to really listen to the thousands upon thousands of songs floating around in the ether, right? Luckily, Calgary radio station AMP Radio has your back, as they’ve started cutting their songs in half. At least that means more of a chance to hear “Stairway to Heaven”, amirite?

As the Financial Post reports, AMP, which plays a mix of Top 40 and Adult Alternative, is the latest station to make use of the Quickhitz format. In this particular approach, AMP edits the usual three or four-minute songs into two-minute “snippets.” With less actual music, they can now play 24 songs an hour over the 12-per-hour of most other stations Even the commercial breaks are shortened, clocking in at nine minutes as opposed to the industry standard of 12 minutes. (So, it’s not all so terribly bad then.)

In a statement on their website, AMP explained they’re “redefining how conventional stations play music as it adapts to our ever so short attention spans,” adding that the editing process will ensure “the listener does not get bored.”

Quickhitz was originally developed last September by the Vancouver-based consulting firm Sparknet Communications. Several other stations in the US have already picked up on the format, with Quickhitz set to expand into markets in Australia and the UK in the coming months. So, what’s the consensus thus far? “A lot of people can’t detect the music has been edited,” said Hillary Hommy, Sparknet’s vice-president of brands and networks. And, lo, thus did the angels weep and the ground did shake with a mighty fury.

Of course, as much fervor as the decision might raise with ardent music fans, it does make sense. As AUX points outs, the attention span of the average adult has dropped by a third, falling from 12 seconds in 2000 to eight seconds in a report last year. It’s even worse when it comes to the Web: Most users will click away from a “slow-loading” website in less than five seconds.

Steve Jones, Vice President of Programming for AMP’s parent company Newcap Radio, told the Calgary Herald that they’re simply adapting to the times and working to “update” the operating procedures of radio:

When you think about why songs are the length they are it goes back to the ’50s and ’60s. If you wanted to be on the radio or you wanted to be in a jukebox, which is how people heard their music back then, you had to be on a 45 RPM record. So that was the way it was done. And here we are 60 years in the future where every medium — TV, print, obviously Internet — everything is being revolutionized and how content is being digested is changing. And radio has yet to question why things are the way they are. As we look to people’s changing habits and changing attention spans and watch people on their iPod listening to half a song and forwarding on to the next one we sort of came to the conclusion that maybe it was time to rethink why songs are the way they were.

Even if the decision does make sense given the behaviors of the modern radio audience, I’d like to take a second to pontificate. As a boy, I enjoyed listening to the radio because I wasn’t in control. Unlike my Walkman, I had to sit through the terrible stuff or the mundane stuff in order to get to the songs that I really loved. And that taught me all about the satisfaction of patience and also made me appreciate my favorite songs that much more. Plus, you can’t truly understand a song, whether it’s Mozart or Skrillex, until you hear it the whole way through. It’s like eating a four-course meal and stopping midway through the entree.

OK, old man Coplan is done. For more on Quickhitz, head here. Below, check out the longest possible song I could find on YouTube, the 69-minute “The Devil Glitch”:

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