The History of Remixes

The History of Remixes

Update: 2023-01-251
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When humans first started making audio recordings of music, they were limited as to how long those recordings could be...

An original Edison cylinder could maybe hold two minutes of music, therefore any songs committed to the format had to be two minutes or shorter—otherwise you’d run out of space...

When Emilee Berliner came along with his flat rotating disc that spun at 78 rpm, capacity increased a little bit...you now had around three minutes for a song before you ran out of space...so everyone who wanted to make audio recordings adapted to the limitations of the technology...

And this, more than anything else, standardized the length of songs in modern popular music to around three minutes, something that persists even today...how long are most songs?...somewhere in the neighbourhood of three minutes...

Another thing: in the old days, there was just one version of a song...you wrote it, you recorded it, it was manufactured, sent to the stores—and that was it...

But in the 1960s, this, too, began to change with the rise of the album...radio stations loved their three minute songs because it meant they could get in more songs per hour...but with the extra space provided by albums, songs grew longer than the standard three minutes...the only way to get a great (but long) song on an album onto am radio (which dominated at the time), you made to make that long song shorter...

This gave birth to the first radio edits...there was the shorter single version and the longer original album version...sometimes there was serious butchery involved, but hey: radio wanted things down to around three minutes...

But why stop there?...couldn’t you have multiple versions of the same song destined for different uses?...why couldn’t, for example, a short song be made longer?...or made more interesting with different mixes and instrumentation and arrangements?...the original song is the same...it’s just that you could add (or subtract) or re-arrange things from the original recording and release that, perhaps expanding the market and reach for the song and the artist...

This gave birth to the remix, an artistic and technological development that took what were once finished single static songs and turned them in to something entirely different....

This is the history of the remix...

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The History of Remixes

The History of Remixes

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