It is a well-known stylized fact that song lengths have converged on an average of about 4 minutes:


songs



Now, a similar trend is becoming apparent in the number of episodes per season for TV shows:


songs



What other formats might be affected by underlying technological trends? We have discussed how podcasts are changing the entertainment industry. I suspect that the distribution of podcast episode lengths is bi-modal, with one cluster around 10 minutes (e.g. Planet Money’s “The Indicator”) and another around 60 minutes (“This American Life”). There are others representing a long tail, such as Joe Rogan or the Accidental Tech Podcast.

Another interesting data point that neither of the above articles comment on is how the variance in lengths is changing — are song or season lengths becoming more or less homogenous over time? Even with these trends in evidence, it still feels like very early days and that the real effect of always-on, high-bandwidth streaming remains to be seen.