Life’s (not) a long song

Last.fm is great, isn’t? Well, perhaps not, for some artists. Why? Because its unit of measurement is the track, not the album.

Take a track such as Jethro Tull‘s ‘Thick as a Brick’, for example. The fact it comes 8th in the Tull chart is astounding, given that it is 12 minutes long. I would be prepapred to wager that it would be higher, if it were shorter – for the simple reason that in any 12-minute period, it can only be played once, whereas a four-minute track could be played three times. Mike Oldfield‘s got it even worse of course, with Amarok clocking in at over an hour for a single track! Is it any wonder it comes in at only 94th on his own chart?

This matters also for artist charts as much as tracks. If, say, one is listening nonstop to Pure Reason Revolution, each play of the debut album ‘Cautionary Tales for the Brave’ will result in 4 tracks, i.e. 4 “votes” for the band. A single spin of Moby‘s ‘Play’ would result in 19 “votes”.

Now, of course there are those 3-minute boys (not them, but theirs is the song) who would say that it serves anyone right if they have songs that are too long, but that’s neither here nor there. I wonder how long it will be before an artist actually constructs a track listing so to dupe mechanisms such as Last.fm.

Its only a matter of time, surely.

Life’s (not) a long song

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