November 14, 2012 at 11:50 am

The Infinite Jukebox Makes Any Song Play Forever

Music Hack Day Boston took place this past weekend. Unfortunately, our editor was on an ill-timed, long-ago-scheduled vacation, but other staffers, including yours truly, were on hand to chronicle the festivities. If you’re not familiar with Music Hack Day, the event gives software developers and hardware hackers 24 hours to come up with an idea and build a functional prototype. When all was said and done, over 60 hacks were created and presented this Sunday, many of them fun and weird (a.k.a. newsworthy).

One of our favorites was the Infinite Jukebox (direct link), from Paul Lamere, the brains behind Infinite Gangnam Style. Apparently, a lot of other people like it too, because the app has currently disabled the uploading of MP3s, and even playing other people’s uploads is super slow as of Wednesday morning. Lamere (director of developer platform for The Echo Nest, publisher of expanded the Infinite Gangnam Style project he started at the Reykjavik Hack Day so that now you can create a never-ending and ever-changing version of any MP3. He made this new version “for when your favorite song isn’t long enough.”

The Infinite Jukebox works by breaking the song down into individual beats, analyzing each segment, comparing them to one another for similarity. The app then visualizes the song song with a large circle, with color-coded paths drawn between the similar-sounding beats.

As the song plays, it takes one of those possible paths and moves to another part of the song, playing that next. Since these adjacent segments sound similar, you might not notice the song jumping around, as it continues to play… potentially, forever. The visualization looks great (check out the image to the right), and does a fine job of illuminating the magic behind it.

I found that the app works best with songs that have repetitive parts, including electronic and catchy pop songs (thus Infinite Gangnam Style). If songs aren’t self-similar there won’t be enough paths between beats and the effect won’t be as strong, which is what happened with Radiohead’s “Karma Police.”

We found that the following songs worked really well — feel to find them on the list, assuming people stop hammering this amazing app long enough for you to get a listen:

  • “DARE” by Gorillaz
  • “Tik Tok” by Ke$ha
  • “Pull Shapes” by The Pipettes
  • “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen
  • “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley