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Immortal Wombat
18-05-2008, 05:06:55
Given that the IMDB began as one man's spreadsheet on Usenet, it really shouldn't surprise me that there'd be a similar project for music. But holy crap:

For the last ten years, obsessive record collectors in Usenet have been working on the Whitburn Project a huge undertaking to preserve and share high-quality recordings of every popular song since the 1890s. To assist their efforts, they've created a spreadsheet of 37,000 songs and 112 columns of raw data, including each song's duration, beats-per-minute, songwriters, label, and week-by-week chart position. It's 25 megs of OCD, and it's awesome. [Andy Baio waxes rhapsodical (http://waxy.org/2008/05/the_whitburn_project/)].

"Popular song" mostly means US Billboard Hot 100, but even so, that's a hella lot of singles to keep track of.

For those not following along on Usenet, the spreadsheet is here (http://sharebee.com/beb55ad8). And it is pretty damn cool. (I'm a sucker for massive data-harvesting projects.)

And not just because it's a big awesome list: when you have a spreadsheet, you can do data-analysis, and plot graphs and crunch numbers (http://waxy.org/2008/05/the_whitburn_project_onehit_wonders_and_pop_longev ity/). How long are pop-songs? What is the trend in one-hit wonder frequency? Song longevity? Chart turnover?