Remix of the Century: Explore a Century of Billboard Charts Using Data from the Whitburn Project


Mon, Jan 28th, 2013 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

The Remix of the Century, a project by the Thud Group as part of the London’s Music Hackday 2012, takes you for a spin through over a century of the highest ranked songs, while letting you sort them through such variables as tempo, loudness, energy and even hotttnesss (that's three ts and three ss). An explanation of the project can be found here.

We found a dataset on Andy Baio’s showing every song in the Billboard charts going back to 1890. To make the dataset a bit easier to work with we trimmed it down to just the highest ranked song from each year using Google Fusion Tables.

Once we had a nice clean dataset, we wrote a PHP script to fetch 30 second previews of each song with the 7digital API. Not all songs were available in the 7digital catalogue but we got enough to continue with the next step in the project: creating one long seamless remix of all the songs.

To do this we used a Python script by The Echo Nest, called Capsule, which uses the Echo Nest Remix API to automatically arrange and mix a list of songs by beat matching, time stretching and cross-fading. After some initial problems with getting the script to run due to varying bitrates in the preview MP3s, we eventually managed to generate a nice long remix of the Billboard charts starting with "Semper Fidelis" in 1890 and going all the way up to "Aston Martin Music" in 2011 (listen to the whole remix on Soundcloud).



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