TOP 2000 ❤ the 70s & 80s

an infographic digging into the top 2000 songs ever made

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The Top 2000 ❤ the 70s & 80s


December 2016


data sketches’ December month


R, Illustrator, D3.js


The top 2000 from the NPO Radio 2 website, the weekly top 40 from the Media Markt Top 40 website


This infographic looks at the Top 2000 songs ever made and how they are spread according to their year of release. From the 60’s in the bottom left corner to 2016 in the top right, each song is represented by a circle. The circles are sized according to their position in the Top 2000 and the darker a circle, the higher the position it reached in the weekly top 40s. Several groups of special songs are highlighted. Such as all 38 tracks from the Beatles in blue, David Bowie in yellow and Prince in purple, while the top 10 is made even more apparent by making them appear as tiny vinyl records. The infographic shows that the 70s & 80s are still the most appreciated era’s in terms of music.


When you’re saying “music in December” to somebody from the Netherlands, there’s a very likely chance that they’ll think of the Top 2000. A yearly chosen list of songs which is played between Christmas and December 31st midnight. I’ve actually played with this data before. It was perhaps my 2nd serious personal project and I was still very new to d3. Since I sometimes see artists revisiting artwork they’ve done in the past to see how their style evolved (which I always love to see), I thought it would be fitting to try and to the same myself. Therefore, 2 years since my previous attempt, I looked at the Top 2000 data again.

My basic dataset was the Top 2000 list, which had the artist, title, position in the Top 2000 and year of release. I also scraped the weekly Top 40 website and matched these to the Top 2000 titles to get the highest position each song reached in the Top 40. For the infographic I looked at the spread of the Top 2000 in 3 earlier editions to visualize how the most popular decade is slowly shifting to newer decades. I made 4 histograms in R which I imported into Illustrator to clean up and combine them with the beeswarm style visualization at the top.

You can read all about the data, design and coding on the data sketches’ December write-up.