Points to the author for occasionally mentioning that perhaps humans just like pieces of music ("songs") that are around three or four minutes long. But for the most part he gets caught up in trying to find a technological answer to the question. I wonder if this is characteristic of our time: everything is about technology or about how humans use technology.
But isn't the question really an aesthetic one, not a technological one? Because, frankly, I think he gets a lot of the technology wrong. For example, I am pretty darn sure that "Hey Jude" came out as a 45 rpm single, and that song is over seven minutes long, so it certainly cannot be the case that primitive 45 rpm vinyl technology restricted songs to three minutes, approximately! Follow the link for the proof as there is a photo of the original 45 issue.
Second, I think the approximate three or four minute duration is a long-standing one for a great deal of music. Now, of course, there are very long pieces and some of them, like the symphonies of Allan Pettersson, are in one uninterrupted section, but I think I could show fairly easily that the most common length for pieces of music, going way, way, back, is about three or four minutes.
Take, for example, the keyboard sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti. They range between a bit less than two minutes to about six minutes, but the vast majority of the over 500 sonatas, are around 4 minutes in length. Chansons from the early middle ages up to, well, now, are very often around three or four minutes long. Some examples? From the 14th century, Machaut:
From the 15th century, Dufay:
From the 16th century, Dowland:
From the 17th century, Caccini:
From the 18th century, Mozart:
From the 19th century, Schubert:
I could go on and on and on. True, there are a lot of genres that tend to have longer durations for individual movements. The symphony in particular went from the four or five minute long movements of the early symphonies by Haydn and Mozart to much longer durations. In the later symphonies of both of those composers it is more common to have seven, eight or even ten minute movements. With Beethoven we can have movements of fifteen minutes and the last movement of the Symphony No. 9 is half an hour, which must have astonished the listeners at the first performance.
But the examples of the most serious late-18th century and later works for piano and orchestra aside, for most of music history, three to four minutes has been a very usable length. It is long enough to present an idea or ideas and to do some development or, in the case of a lot of songs, to sing three or four verses.
So the fact that most pop songs of today range between three and four minutes would seem to be a simple reflection of an aesthetic principle, viz, that most listeners are comfortable with songs or pieces about three or four minutes long. And have been for centuries.
What the writer forgets is that successful technology is always adapted to human needs. If there was a recording technology developed that could only record songs of less than a minute, it would not be successful. In fact, that might well have been the case in the early days--I'm not familiar enough with that history.
Now, let's listen to that counter-example, "Hey Jude", at 7:11 the longest single to ever have risen to number one--not just on the Billboard Hot 100, by the way, but in eleven different countries: