The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory

The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory

By John Seabrook

  • Release Date : 2015-10-05
  • Genre : Music
  • FIle Size : 1.45 MB
Score: 4.5
From 41 Ratings
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The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory “An utterly satisfying examination of the business of popular music.” —Nathaniel Rich, The Atlantic

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.


  • Fairly up to date

    By Dendi John
    This book is fairly up to date with current practices in the music industry, songwriting, music celebrities, industry tensions brought about by technology. After reading this I deceided I need to read books more often.
  • Pop music demystified

    By CRiddersem
    Mr. Seabrook lifted the curtain and showed me the man pulling the levers behind the soundtrack to my childhood. As a 2000s era teen I was riveted by the boy band stories. Without divulging any spoilers, what made this book read like an enriching guilty pleasure was the common thread Mr. Seabrook wove through the history of hits. Seabrook is thorough, thought-provoking, and talented. Well done sir.
  • The Hit Maschine

    By Def Hustle
    Basically this book is incredibly revealing in how he music industry operates in the present and continued to blow my mind the further I read as the truth was revealed to me