Why IS dance music getting faster once again? Italy’s Sam Paganini – who’s been in this position at least once before – posts an intriguing theory claiming social media is the explanation…

Anyone who’s been listening to dance music for even just a few years will notice trends – and one of those is that the music speeds up and slows down during certain periods. For example, many of house music’s early releases ran at around 120bpm – but by the year 2000, it wasn’t unusual for house tracks to be made at almost 130bpm.

What was the explanation for this? Quite simply, it was trance music. For those who weren’t there, it’s hard to explain just how big trance was at the turn of the millennium – but it was the era where the likes of Armin Van Buuren, DJ Tiësto, and Ferry Corsten were helping define an entire sound.

During the 2010s, things slowed down quite dramatically – and most house music slowed down to around 124bpm once more. The music also started to feel a little more raw and less polished than before – a lot of it was inspired by house music’s sparser earlier days.

But in recent years – and especially since the pandemic – the music has started to pick up the pace again. One question comes to mind – why? Whilst Ears To The House has a few theories of our own, Italian DJ and producer Sam Paganini has one which gave us a “why didn’t we think of that?” moment…

Paganini is, of course, not new to the dance music world. He’s been involved with the industry since the mid-90s, with his first releases coming out in 1996. As a dance music veteran at this stage, this trend is something he’ll undoubtedly have noticed over the years – and he also probably knows it’ll slow down again at some point, too.

But there’s definitely something in his theory. With a song playing at 128bpm, it means eight bars of music will take 15 seconds to complete – an ideal length for a short story on social media. Reduce the tempo to 124bpm, and it will take 15.5 seconds – whilst a 120bpm song will need 16 seconds.

In other words, if you’re restricted to fifteen or thirty seconds on a promotional video for social media, the 128bpm track is going to be a much tidier fit – whereas either the start or end have to be trimmed on slower records. All in all, we can’t help but suspect that Paganini is onto something…

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