Gerald Duchovnay is Professor of English and Head of the Department of Literature and Languages at Texas A&M University at Commerce. He is general editor of the international film journal Post Script: Essays in Film and the Humanities and author of Humphrey Bogart: A Bio-Bibliography.
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.
Forget everything you think you know about the odds of “making it” in the music industry. Today, odds mean nothing and success is not about lucky breaks. It’s about conquering social media, mastering the art of merchandising and simply working harder and being smarter than everyone else. We are living in the midst of an industry renaissance, one that has left the record companies desperately struggling to maintain their prominence, as a subculture of dedicated, DIY (do-it-yourself) musicians have taken over. These days talent is a given and success has to be earned.
In 2008, Ari Herstand boldly turned in his green Starbucks apron to his manager, determined to make a living off his craft as a singer/songwriter. Almost a decade later, he has become a founding member of the new DIY movement and a self-sustaining musician, all without the help of a major label. Now, drawing from years of experience, Herstand has written the definitive guide for other like-minded artists, the ones who want to forge their own path and not follow the traditional markers of success, like record sales, hits on the radio or the amount of your label advance. Incredibly comprehensive and brutally honest throughout, How to Make It in the New Music Business covers every facet of the "new" business, including how to:Build a grass-roots fan base—and understand the modern fan Book a profitable tour, and tips for playing live, such as opening vs. headlining etiquette, and putting on a memorable show Become popular on YouTube, Spotify and SoundCloud Get songs placed in film and television Earn royalties you didn’t know existed and reach your crowdfunding goals
Musicians will not only be introduced to all the tools available today but will be shown how to effectively leverage them to actually make money. More important, they will develop the mindset to be aware of new advancements both online and in the real world and always stay in tune with a constantly evolving landscape.
There has never been a better time to be an independent musician. Today, fans can communicate with their idols by simply picking up their phones, artists are able to produce studio-worthy content from their basement and albums are funded not by "record men" but by generous, engaged supporters. As result, How to Make It in the New Music Business is a must-have guide for anyone hoping to navigate the increasingly complex yet advantageous landscape that is the modern music industry.