April 19, 2017

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The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory by John Seabrook
Recommended by Chris Schoen

Some people love pop music, some people hate pop music, and a lot of us hate the fact that we love pop music. If you have ever asked the fundamental question, “why is this dumb song stuck in my head?” let me recommend a book with the answer. The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory by New Yorker staff writer John Seabrook tells the story of how a cadre of pop producers from Sweden reinvented the way music is made. Through a series of stories about songs and musicians most people know and behind-the-scenes masterminds most people have never heard of, Seabrook chronicles a fundamental shift in the way music is written, produced, and delivered. He illustrates how specialization and technology are transforming creative industries, much as the industrial revolution transformed the production of goods. Through data and an understanding of the human brain, the music industry is identifying formulas that we are programed to like, even if we say otherwise. This is the fascinating story of sonic sugar.

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