3 minutes


What is the “3 minute rule”? It means that no song in the Eurovision Song Contest can be longer than that. This rule was adopted in 1960 due to time constraints and to avoid extremely long entries such as Italy’s song from 1957 which was 5 minutes 9 seconds long. So for 53 years, this rule remains intact and recently some people felt that it’s time to re-evaluate this old ruling and it has been discussed on our website. Let’s have a look at the pros and cons and hear from both sides.

 Proponents of a rule change argue that times have changed and songs in general are longer than back in the day. Yamarus said: “In the Sixties, pop songs were much shorter (2:30 – 3 min) but not anymore.” It is true, that songs are significantly longer now than they were 50 years ago. The average length of the top 10 selling singles in the 60’s in the United Kingdom is 2 Minutes, 38 seconds compared to 3 Minutes, 46 seconds for the 21st century.

Member Impressive also added that the artistic freedom is being taken away by limiting the songs to 3 minutes:“This is art, the music. Music is the way connect to soul, to feelings. Such a three minutes rule just restricts the way freedom. How can you call anything art without freedom, with restict?”
But working within certain time frames or criterias is a common procedure, Mickey said: “Art has to cope with all sorts of restrictions. Playwrights are limited to what they can physically do in terms of staging. Film directors have to cut down their films for commercial release and limit swearing, sex and violence to get the right certification. Comedians may be limited to a ten-minute set. A good artist needs to be creative within the boundaries they are given.”
Anto475 added: “A picture can only be as big as the canvas you paint it on. Just as there are physical parameters (i.e. 6 people on stage, the size of the stage, etc.), so too must there be non-physical parameters. It brings fairness.” 

Then there is the problem of the length of the show, which is one of the concerns Matt had: “Listening to 25 songs a night is already pushing the attention span for most viewers, adding 20 or 30 seconds to each song would be a significant increase and making a show that is already over 3 hours long even longer just seems unreasonable. Yes, ESC fans like us would LOVE this change but the average viewer not so much.”
But A-lister did not agree with that statement saying “Why even watch ESC if you don’t like it enough in the first place that you’d get bored with some potentially extra 15 minutes of music?”


So what’s the solution?

Impressive: “If we take postcards time down to 30 seconds (from 1 minute) and let songs to be 3:30 minutes, it would be very impressive.”. Though CPV4931 didn’t think it would be technically possible “I don´t think, that 30 seconds of postcards would be enough to prepare the next entry on stage.”

Matt suggested that “If you really want to allow every song to be longer than 3 minutes, you’d also have to decrease the number of finalists”.

Finally, Mozz suggested: “There should be a minimal length for entries, say 2 minutes and 50 seconds. And a maximum of 3 minutes of 20 seconds or so . Countries should be free to send entries between 2:50 and 3:20” which means it would even out the fields with some songs being shorter than 3 minutes.


Whar are your thoughts, do you think songs in Eurovision should be longer or believe the current rule is good?

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  1. Hasso

    February 2, 2013 at 18:23

    Song are always longer than 3 minutes and so should they in Eurovision. It’s time to leave the dark ages EBU. Increase the max time by at least 30 seconds or a minute.

  2. Anja

    January 28, 2013 at 06:11

    3 minutes is more than enough. If you want the longer version, listen to the single as a lot of the songs have extended versions but for Eurovision they need to stick to the shorter version. We have around 25 songs to listen to…..

  3. Roy van der Merwe

    January 28, 2013 at 05:07

    THree minutes are perfect. I dislike the postcards but you need time to prepare for the next entry and also give commentators time to tell viewers at home about the entry. I remember Gina G’s song OOH AHH JUST A LITTLE BIT, the CD single had many versions some extremely long, so the fans of that song could get enough of it in the longer versions

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