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The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory Kindle Edition
"In The Song Machine, John Seabrook tells of a cutthroat and fascinating industry, where readers discover the gifted musical maestros who orchestrate hit after hit but rarely get their name in print. The narrative shows not just how technology has upended the music business but of how - despite prattle about "the long tail" - just one per cent of artists generate 80 per cent of the industry's profits. This is a story with as many surprises as Game of Thrones." -- Ken Auletta, author of 'Googled: The End of The World as We Know It'
"Beneath the surface of today's pop music lies an industrial process as rigorous and bizarre as the one perfected by McDonald's. Seabrook shows what it takes to make a hit in a book that's beautifully written, revelatory, funny, and full of almost unbelievable details." -- Eric Schlosser, author of 'Fast Food Nation' and 'Command and Control'
"Anyone who wants to understand how the clash of cultures has shaped what we listen to should read this important book. John Seabrook has a marvelous ear for language - and perfect pitch when it comes to music journalism." -- Bob Spitz, author of 'The Beatles: The Biography'
About the Author
John Seabrook has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1993. The author of several books including Nobrow, he has taught narrative nonfiction writing at Princeton University. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.--This text refers to the audioCD edition.
- ASIN : B00TIZFO2W
- Publisher : W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (October 5, 2015)
- Publication date : October 5, 2015
- Language : English
- File size : 902 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 362 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #319,880 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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Reading this book will open your eyes wide and you'll never see or hear a hit song the same way again.
What it isn't, really, is deeply insightful into what all this means for music as an art-form, nor for artists themselves. Each time an insight comes ('it's noticeable that Taylor Swifts 1989 is her first album that could have been sung by anyone') it passes without any real reflection on this. What does this mean? How does an artist speak in this factory and is it even possible?
Were genuine artists ever speaking in popular music? Presumably so. What made those times so different? Was it just album sales? Etc...
Also, there is really only a passing mention of what it all means for actual musicians. Of course there's the standard "this is dying" stuff - but how are people adapting? What possibilities are there? And look, are any of these guys even good musicians? Dr Luke's utterly laughable analysis of a melody: Is that really the height of what the creatives know about music? It doesn't seem so, but then there's this final thing that isn't analyses:
None of these people - not the singers, not the labels, not the producers - are actually trying to make good music. They are trying to make "hot products" that will by nature flare up temporarily and then make way for the next thing. This is the opposite of an artist, isn't it?
So, while really enjoying this book, I wish there had been a lot more along these lines...
Top reviews from other countries
This particular book I bought because, as someone who, like many others, had always loved pop music from "his" time and prior, but had fallen out of touch with "modern" pop music, but who was nevertheless still fascinated by the art and science of making "really good" music, I felt I owed it to myself to learn more about the way that music is made - the process - in what I suppose we might be call the modern era. And so, with a mixture of trepidation and resignation, it transpired that I shelled out the trivial sum that it cost to purchase, more in the hope that I would actually read it than the expectation that I would do so.
I am glad to report that I have just finished, and am equally glad to report that I found it a really worthwhile read.
The book is, to me, incredibly well researched, and chock full of really interesting backstories behind some of the leading artists, writers, and producers of the last two decades, with a firm emphasis on the latter.
As somebody who is woefully (and I think, regrettably) out of touch with so much pop music from somewhere in the 2000s onwards, I had to read it with YouTube permanently on hand, stopping my reading every few pages just so that I could reference for myself so many of the tunes mentioned in the book that had escaped my listening in recent years.
If you are at all interested in how this business works; how it has moved on from the "old ways" of yore; and especially if you aspire to work in the business, you probably owe it to yourself to read this book.
There is a chapter on Korean pop which is a complete waste of time.
Overall very good