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How Disco Made Pop Songs Longer

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 30, 2019

In the latest episode of Earworm, Estelle Caswell notes that the length of a pop single was rarely more than 3m30s because you couldn’t fit any more than that onto a 7-inch 45rpm single without sacrificing audio quality. But in the 70s, DJs in NYC clubs started playing longer songs for a prolonged dance floor groove and eventually the higher-capacity 12-inch single was born.

Fun fact: the bestselling 12-inch single of all time is New Order’s Blue Monday, which was released in 1983 and clocked in at 7m29s long. Take a listen.