NEW YORK — Music lovers know when something is a hit! A new study finds it takes less than five seconds for people know if they really enjoy a new song. Scientists from New York University say people’s opinions of a new tune didn’t change, depending on whether they listened to a small snippet or the entire track.
The NYU team also discovered that listeners liked the song more if they listened to the complete song before the excerpt, compared to after hearing the short clip. People strongly preferred listening to the whole song, rather than a snippet, such as the teasers on Apple Music and Amazon.
The senior authors note that the findings could widen our understanding of how songs evoke certain emotions in listeners.
“Over the course of any given song, the acoustic properties change dramatically, but that doesn’t seem to matter much to the listeners,” says senior author Pascal Wallisch, a clinical associate professor at NYU’s Center for Data Science, in a university release.
“We can determine within five seconds or less whether or not we will like it.”
“This finding might have wide-ranging implications for our understanding of what properties of songs evoke certain emotions in listeners,” Wallisch continues. “The fact that a small excerpt is enough to tell us if we like it or hate it, suggests that we respond more to the general vibe that a song brings to us rather than its musical notes per se.”
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