Marketing Report
[Column] Michiel Marsman: To slow, just right or too fast? Keeping Up with TikTok’s pitch shifting hype column

[Column] Michiel Marsman: To slow, just right or too fast? Keeping Up with TikTok’s pitch shifting hype

Recently, I came across the latest release from The Weeknd on Spotify, and what immediately caught my attention is that alongside the original "radio" single, accelerated, slowed down, and instrumental versions are simultaneously released. Just as we used to have club remixes in the past, we now have accelerated and slowed-down versions.

These alternative versions are specifically intended for digital platforms like TikTok. Due to TikTok's fast and energetic nature, you often need to grab the user's attention right away. The attention span is short, impatient, and there is no time for a "long" intro.

Faster versions of old songs have been a trend on TikTok for some time now. Marvin Gaye on speed, or Ferrari Horses with triple DRS. Generation Z often only knows the fast versions of songs circulating on TikTok. Many parents often receive a surprised look and a furrowed brow when playing the original "slow" version.

But why do people often find faster more enjoyable and better? When you play a sound faster, it gains more momentum. It also becomes higher and, therefore, lighter. Instead of BOOOOOOOOOM, it becomes boom.

The moment of impact becomes shorter and sharper. Accelerated versions of music thus gain more energy and become pleasantly pointed. Therefore, they quickly grab your attention, invite you to move, and make you cheerful. The vocals sounding a bit higher, a flashy trumpet line. A small smile often appears on the listener's face.

Slower versions of songs are widely utilized on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and SoundCloud. Additionally, in art projects and films, slowed-down versions of music are occasionally employed. When you play a sound at a slower speed, it becomes more viscous. It also becomes lower and heavier. Sharp sounds become softer and rounder. As a result, the music often takes on a dreamy and abstract quality. It creates a moment of contemplation with eyes closed.

At Sizzer, we have decided to, alongside the briefed original music, also create an accelerated, slowed down, and instrumental version for each job. So from now on, our deliveries look like this: Original - Sped Up - Slowed Down - Instrumental. This way, our clients have alternative versions at their disposal for applications on various digital platforms.

Is faster better? Slower more beautiful? Or the original version after all? Or are they just different but equally good. "What do you think, Dad?" my daughter Rosa asked. I furrowed my brow, hahahaha, mmmm it depends.

Michiel Marsman is ECD at music agency Sizzer