Just when you thought that trends in music couldn’t get any crazier with super-short song clips on TikTok and Reels, we see yet another that might be confusing to some artists, and threatening to others. Sped up versions of both new and classic hits is now a thing on Spotify, TikTok and YouTube, and even the chipmunk voices aren’t deterring its advocates.
A playlist from Spotify called appropriately “sped up songs” (see the graphic above) has been liked by almost a million users, and the hashtag “spedupsounds” has 9.6 billion views on TikTok. YouTube has a whole flotilla of sped up song videos, with one featuring pop songs from the 2000s reaching almost 5 million views.
This Is Not New
While the root of this trend is said to come from a pair of Norwegian high school students back in 2002 based on an EP they released called Nightcore, the trend has slowly caught on over the years. Thanks to everyone having a generally shorter attention span and a habit for watching videos sped up 1.5X or more, you can see how the practice can now be accepted without much ridicule.
While the trend can be described as quirky, there’s also a business edge to it. Record labels have spotted that old hits can receive a new life with the release of a sped up version. That means that they can turn out a new version relatively fast and cheaply without having to do what they’ve done in the past, which is order a remix.
That also means that the major labels are dominating some of the sped up Spotify playlists. Billboard discovered that one in particular, “sped up nightcore,” has only artists from the Warner Music Group roster.
As you can imagine, artists are balking at sped up versions of their songs. “If I wanted it that fast I would have recorded it that way,” is a frequent mantra. It’s easy to change your mind about this, however, if it gets more people to listen.