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The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory by…

The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory (2015)

by John Seabrook

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Dense, detailed, illuminating, and well-written — and I wasn't really even interested in this subject; it's so well done that I spent the day reading the book, and ended with appreciation for valuable insight into the music industry. ( )
  dcmr | Jul 4, 2017 |
Tells the story of how pop hits are manufactured.

Focus on the rise of the Swedish pop machine and what is referred to as "song math", the formulaic approach to writing hits. Lead to the rise of the Cheyron music studios, where songwriters like Max Martin wrote hits for Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears.

This trend still drives the industry today. If you're in the music industry, this is a must-read. It may ruin your perception of superstar artists actually being songwriters though. ( )
  shakazul | Jul 3, 2017 |
The best part of this book might be the song lists in Spotify that the author has created. Do not miss listening to the music!. ( )
  deldevries | Feb 25, 2017 |
I'm not into pop music at all, and really could care less about the latest Rihanna or Britney Spears hits. Yet somehow this book was oddly compelling. It takes an in-depth look into the entire process of how hit music (read: vapid pop) is made. From straight-up songwriters to people who only provide rhythms, to those who only do melodies, to those who only remix what the previous 3 people do (yes, it's surprisingly complicated), all kinds of hidden aspects of creating pop music are created. I loathed hearing the Backstreet Boys on the radio all the time back in the late 90's, but it was quite interesting to hear how they came to be "a thing". Recommended for all people who enjoy ilstening to any sort of modern music. ( )
  caimanjosh | Apr 7, 2016 |
obsessive "comping" of vocals, comparing multiple takes of the vocal parts of a song to find the perfectly sung syllable in each take and pasting them all back together to make a complete vocal.

Everything is frosted with the electronic sheen produced by dynamic compression.

Pop songs written by track and hook! Track - beats, chord progression and instrumentation, and, hook - melodies and maybe lyrics. Industrialized song/hit writing. producers create batches of tracks and send them to many topliners and then choose the melody they like the best. Track and hook, a hook in the intro, a hook in the chorus, a hook in the bridge, hook hook hook
  robing | Apr 1, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393241920, Hardcover)

There's a reason hit songs offer guilty pleasure―they're designed that way.

Over the last two decades a new type of hit song has emerged, one that is almost inescapably catchy. Pop songs have always had a "hook," but today’s songs bristle with them: a hook every seven seconds is the rule. Painstakingly crafted to tweak the brain's delight in melody, rhythm, and repetition, these songs are highly processed products. Like snack-food engineers, modern songwriters have discovered the musical "bliss point." And just like junk food, the bliss point leaves you wanting more.

In The Song Machine, longtime New Yorker staff writer John Seabrook tells the story of the massive cultural upheaval that produced these new, super-strength hits. Seabrook takes us into a strange and surprising world, full of unexpected and vivid characters, as he traces the growth of this new approach to hit-making from its obscure origins in early 1990s Sweden to its dominance of today's Billboard charts.

Journeying from New York to Los Angeles, Stockholm to Korea, Seabrook visits specialized teams composing songs in digital labs with new "track-and-hook" techniques. The stories of artists like Katy Perry, Britney Spears, and Rihanna, as well as expert songsmiths like Max Martin, Stargate, Ester Dean, and Dr. Luke, The Song Machine shows what life is like in an industry that has been catastrophically disrupted―spurring innovation, competition, intense greed, and seductive new products.

Going beyond music to discuss money, business, marketing, and technology, The Song Machine explores what the new hits may be doing to our brains and listening habits, especially as services like Spotify and Apple Music use streaming data to gather music into new genres invented by algorithms based on listener behavior.

Fascinating, revelatory, and original, The Song Machine will change the way you listen to music.


(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 29 Jul 2015 19:35:54 -0400)

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