Techno’s BPM Races Upward and Tracks Get Shorter, New Study Says

June 05, 2023
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© Dima Pechurin / Unsplash 

Techno music is not only pumping the volume, but also the beats per minute (BPM), according to a recent study by regional news broadcaster rbb24. The research, which examined the top 20 tracks from 2016 to 2022, discovered a marked increase in pace and a shift towards pop-influenced sounds. 

In 2016, Konstantin Sibold’s Mother led the charts with a steady 129 BPM and a vocal-free soundscape. Contrastingly, 2022’s first place was nabbed by Southstar’s Miss You, a vocally-rich, rapid-pop-beats-infused track revving at 145 BPM. 

One standard theory points to the pent-up energy comes from the COVID-19 lockdowns, when individuals yearned to return to nightclubs. But rbb24’s data indicates the BPM upsurge was already in motion pre-pandemic, suggesting other factors are at play. 

The acceleration of social media usage, particularly on TikTok, opened the digital gates to short video snippets of party nights. Fast-paced and energetic club nights mean share-worthy material, creating a ‘the faster the beats, the higher the engagement’ correlation.

However, a musical trend has been building steam alongside the BPM increase, namely the resurgence of trance. Dominating the dance floors with hard techno, the return of trance offers a partial explanation for the BPM surge.

Ersin Akgül from Miracle Management, a booking agency representing Berlin artists, notes that TikTok exposed party-goers to techno remixes of pop songs on during the pandemic. The ‘Ravetok’ phenomenon suggests that social media has played a significant role in shaping revelers’ musical preferences. 

“Many of those who are currently over 18 and those who fill clubs full have heard hard techno versions of pop songs on Tiktok at home during the pandemic. And accordingly, that was what they wanted to celebrate now.”

Alongside this, the rise of streaming services has also influenced track lengths, rewarding shorter songs with a higher chance of being fully played. Electronic music, like pop, now caters to this trend with shorter, punchier tracks.

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