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May 01 2019

Why disco made pop songs longer

 

In the early 1970s, a musical sensation took over New York City. It was called Disco. Before Disco became synonymous with Saturday Night Fever, Rod Stewart, and celebrity-fueled parties, it was an underground movement powered by the innovations of young DJs challenging themselves and each other to throw the city’s most adventurous dance parties.

In 1976, an accidental studio discovery by Disco pioneer Tom Moulton provided the solution: A 12-inch single. By stretching one song across 12 inches of vinyl, a format typically reserved for full-length albums, those extended dance tracks had room to breath. By the 1980s, the 12-inch single dominated pop music. It not only changed the sound of records, it allowed for music producers to experiment with length and structure.