"The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory" by John Seabrook

| 📖 # 16 |


Title: The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory
Author: John Seabrook
Start Date: 4/20/16
End Date: 4/22/16
# of Pages: 352
Edition: W. W. Norton & Company original hardcover (2015)

Favorite Quotes: (1) “Today, 77 percent of the profits in the music business are accumulated by 1 percent of the artists.” (2) “Later, [Denniz PoP’s] disciples would institutionalize … ‘The L.A. Car Test’: songs written in Stockholm are sent out to California, inserted into a car stereo, and driven up and down the Pacific Coast Highway to make sure they sound right.” (3) “…they flew west, early Nordic navigators of what would become a popular trade route of Swedish song Vikings for decades to come.” (4) “What I did not realize, and presumably Max Martin did, because he’d learned it from Denniz and taught it to Dr. Luke, was that by the time I’d been forced to hear ‘Roar’ ten times…I’d come to like it too. Still, I was troubled by the possibility that I had been right the first time.”

Why I Chose It: I’ve been peripherally aware of Max Martin / Dr. Luke / Stargate etc. and their involvement in the music industry (especially when Taylor Swift released 1989), and I was curious to learn the backstory behind contemporary hit music.

Other Notes: First of all, regarding quote (2) … that may be my dream job. This book fundamentally changed the way I will listen to pop music. It is fascinating - as it recounts the story of mega bands and hit songs, a narrative firmly appears, weaving from the Backstreet Boys (which I now hear the ABBA influence there) to Britney to Rihanna all the way to Taylor Swift…many smash hit songs share a common origin and the collection of people behind them are what make the story so interesting.

BooksKarl Magnuson