Format has long had an impact on the sound of recorded music. A 45 RPM 7″ single could hold about three to five minutes of music, so that became the normal length of a pop song in the 1950s, allowing for singles artists and novelty tracks. Music videos had to compete with boredom and the remote, which benefited artists with more extravagant looks in the ’80s. LPs and CDs lent themselves to medium-paced, dozen-song albums, which gave rise to “album-oriented rock.” MP3s were rough and free, so they encouraged lo-fi demos and eclectic tastes. With subscription streaming, every song is competing with 70 million other songs, so tracks with front-loaded hooks fare best—and since artists get paid a fraction of a penny for each song streamed, they have an incentive to crank out albums with a ton of songs. The frantic pace of TikTok has songwriters cutting still more precious seconds from their would-be hits.