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The Song Machine

Nonfiction: Music
Unabridged   9.5 hour(s)
Publication date: 10/05/2015

Audie Finalist
2016 Voice Arts Award Winner

The Song Machine

Inside the Hit Factory

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781622319626


New Yorker staff writer John Seabrook tells a fascinating story of creativity and commerce that explains how songs have become so addictive.

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Product Description

Over the last two decades a new type of song has emerged. Today's hits bristle with hooks, musical burrs designed to snag your ear every seven seconds. Painstakingly crafted to tweak the brains delight in melody, rhythm, and repetition, these songs are industrial-strength products made for malls, casinos, the gym, and the Super Bowl halftime show. The tracks are so catchy, and so potent, that you can't not listen to them.

Traveling from New York to Los Angeles, Stockholm to Korea, John Seabrook visits specialized teams composing songs in digital labs with novel techniques, and he traces the growth of these contagious hits from their origins in early 90s Sweden to their ubiquity on today's charts. Featuring the stories of artists like Katy Perry, Britney Spears, and Rihanna, as well as expert songsmiths like Max Martin, Ester Dean, and Dr. Luke, The Song Machine will change the way you listen to music.


Praise for The Song Machine:

"This is a fascinating tale about an amazing phenomenon: how hits get made. John Seabrook combines a love of music and an appreciation for personalities to take us on a starry journey from Stockholm and London to New York and Orlando showing how creativity gets discovered, polished, and packaged. His book is a triumph of great writing and reporting, and the lessons reverberate far beyond the world of music."—Walter Isaacson, author of The Innovators and Steve Jobs

"Beneath the surface of today's pop music lies an industrial process as rigorous and bizarre as the one perfected by McDonalds. 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

"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 percent of artists generate 80 percent of the industry's profits."—Ken Auletta, author of Googled: The End of The World as We Know It

Author Bio

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.