I was listening to White Iverson by Post Malone:

and when I looked up its bpm here and here I found that the bpm was 130 which caught me by surprise because the song sounds slow. So I'm wondering if one can see it as 130/2 bpm, or how does one figure it's 130? Do slow songs sometimes have a high bpm and if so for what reason?

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    I count it at half that rate. I'm fairly certain other musicians with my background would too. Perhaps DJs approach the situation differently, it would be interesting to know. – user48353 Mar 19 '19 at 22:10
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    As @replete says, to mix it into a DJ set, you might be wanting to mix it with songs that are double the tempo. But in isolation, the song would normally be thought of as 65 BPM in 4/4. – topo Reinstate Monica Mar 19 '19 at 22:22
  • yeah but those two websites aren't mixing anything. they're just saying what the bpm is of that song. – foreyez Mar 20 '19 at 0:18
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    No full answer, so only as comment: Yes there a several "slow songs" with a high bpm. With a software with beat detection one can be surprised how much "slow songs" have a high beat. I don't know the reason, but for me it seems that bpm and the style of a song (as "slow song") do not inevitably interrelate. – IQV Mar 20 '19 at 7:04
  • just a guess, but maybe it has high bpm due to the fast hihats that usually make up a trap beat. so a higher bpm increases "resolution" so you can add more elements to it or something. – foreyez Mar 20 '19 at 15:12

Ultimately, what the BPM is judged to be depends on what a person's perception of what the 'beat' actually is - so it's somewhat subjective, and not entirely objective.

For a given time signature, there is a wide variety of different possible drum patterns. For example, for 4/4, some of drum patterns might have a bass drum on beat 1 & 3, while some might have a bass drum on all 4 beats (four-to-the-floor). Other patterns might have busier bass drums patterns, with hits on eights or even 16th upbeats. At some point, these might affect the perception of what the BPM is.

The song may even have been sequenced at 130 BPM in the sequencer - perhaps, as you say, to get more resolution for the more detailed elements. In isolation, I am still reasonably confident that the song would normally be thought of by most musicians as about 65 BPM in 4/4.

As per replete's comment, DJs might be most interested in how to mix a song into a set at a typical dance tempo. So a website oriented towards DJs might list a song at double the tempo that it would most usually be perceived to be.

yeah but those two websites aren't mixing anything. they're just saying what the bpm is of that song

Well, yes and no. Any site listing BPMs is going to be aware that a large part of its readership will be DJs. The second site (tunebat) has "Recommendations for Harmonic Mixing" on the page, so it is definitely targeted towards DJs.

Also - some of these sites aren't very clear where they source their information from, and it's quite possible that a bit of data on one site could propagate to multiple other sites without being re-assessed at any point. Most of us will have noticed that the same dodgy lyric transcriptions are available at more than one site, for the same reason!

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