Posted on Thursday, December 11th, 2014 by Will Hagle
Remix of the Century is a Music Hackday project which aims to explore a century (roughly) of Billboard charts using data from the Whitburn Project and The Echo Nest.
Remix of the Century is a data-driven project created to explore the trends, similarities, and differences in popular recorded music throughout the past century. The site was created during a Music Hack Day using data from the Whitburn Project, which has catalogued and preserved raw data compiling song duration, beats-per-minute, songwriters, labels, and relative chart position for thousands of songs dating back to the 1890s. The project also uses The Echo Nest’s API to display its data and metrics across the chart hosted on its homepage. That chart consists of color-coded data points laid out across a timeline that begins in 1900 and ends in 2010.
Clicking on an individual data point brings up information about a particular song, including its key, mode, tempo, time signature, and chart position. It also delivers a score quantifying its “energy,” “danceability,” speechiness,” and “liveness.” In order to give the music industry the credit it deserves, there are also embedded buttons leading you to purchase the track or stream it on Spotify. Sorting through the data is an interesting experience, as there are definitely trends based on specific factors that can be extracted from the charts (loudness, for example, has become increasingly common and almost ubiquitous by 2010). The easiest and most interesting thing to explore on the site is the “Remix of the Century,” which is one beat-matched remix of all of the highest ranks songs from the past century. It’s a cool experiment, and definitely worth checking out.