42 Years of Hits in 37 Minutes

Studio 360

"Billboard," a piece by composer and programmer R. Luke Dubois, may feature popular, chart-topping songs, but all conventions end there. Back in 2007, Dubois developed a computer program to do what he calls "time-lapse phonography." It samples the frequency spectrum of a piece of music over time, "much as you would sample the stock market."

Armed with hundreds of hit songs, Dubois condensed the top hits from Billboard magazine's pop chart into a single piece --- 42 years' worth of songs represented in 37 minutes of music. DuBois's form may be entirely novel, but he says, "I didn't write this music. It was curated by young Americans of the last 50years who bought records and called in to the radio. I'm just figuring out an algorithm."

(Originally aired January 26, 2007)

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