Song ramps: Shorter is the new norm
Song ramps or “intro” times in radio relates to the number of seconds a song has on the front-end before the vocals start. Some programmers consider vocal harmonizing (think Mariah Carey) prior to the start of an actual verse is acceptable as the ramp too. I beg to differ, the slightest cough or vocal cue from the artist is the end of the intro and the start of the song in my opinion, but that’s neither here nor there, the intro times on songs have become noticeably shorter and shorter especially in contemporary hit music. This was the topic of a Sean Ross weekly blog via radio-info. Some programmers believe that record labels are appealing to the short attention spans of radio executives (basically get to the good stuff before they cut my record off and move on to the next). My point of view centers around the listener. As mentioned in Sean’s blog, radio exes. have shorter attention spans, however; we know that listeners do too. Radio had to adjust by creating shorter, more concise talk breaks. We’ve all heard the coaching technique: get to the subject, no long setup. For younger demos, I believe the record industry has started to notice the demands of a attention deficit generation. I can’t imagine too many 18-24 year olds sitting through a song on their Ipod that gives them nothing to vibe to within the first :05-:08 seconds. If the song “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” by The Temptations was released in today’s fast pace society, can you imagine how Gen Y would respond to the 1:02 song intro? They’d quickly bypass that song and to get to one that grabs them immediately. The same theory fuels the web, advertising, and marketing world too–quickly engage. Unfortunately or fortunately for radio, the short intro’s have been pushed our way in the process. Not because of us but, because of a sign of the times. Currently, I program an Urban AC station and the number of songs released with shorter intros are few and far between, but I’ve noticed the trend and I’m ok with it. Limits jock chatter over ramps and flows better.