The Song Machine: How to Make a Hit

Author(s): John Seabrook

writing & criticism

How do you make a song a global smash hit that is guaranteed to make $millions? Who are the hit-manufacturers that can create a tune that is so catchy, so wildly addictive, that it sticks in the minds of millions of listeners? And who are the powerful few that have the capacity to transform, say, a young Barbadian woman called Robyn Rihanna Fenty into the global megastar that is Rihanna? In The Song Machine, John Seabrook dissects the workings of this machine, travelling the world to reveal its hidden formulas, and interview its geniuses - 'the hitmakers' - at the centre of it all. Hilarious and jaw-droppingly shocking, this book will change how you think and feel about music, as well as how you listen to it.


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A look behind the hits for everyone who's ever railed against (or secretly loved) manufactured pop music

"Revelatory, funny, and full of almost unbelievable details" -- Eric Schlosser, author of 'Fast Food Nation' "As addictive as its subject" * Sunday Times * "A gripping investigation of modern hitmaking... Seabrook's writing is as sleek and swift as a dolphin" * New Statesman * "This is a fascinating tale about an amazing phenomenon" -- Walter Isaacson, author of 'Steve Jobs' "Seabrook subtly explores not only the insides of a song, but how a song gets inside us" * Observer * "Revealing, frightening, funny and unsettling" -- Roddy Doyle "Seabrook's book takes the reader into a hidden world behind some of the most high-profile cultural products of the era" * Guardian * "A highly engaging narrative" * Economist * "Weaving its way through two-and-a-half decades, one of The Song Machine's greatest achievements is to situate the pop song within a shifting matrix of technological evolution, diminishing revenue streams, and warring egos" * Independent * "Seabrook takes us on a lucid and well-researched tour of the places where modern hits are created" -- Peter Clark * Literary Review *

John Seabrook has been a staff writer at the New Yorker since 1993. The author of several books including Nobrow, he has taught narrative non-fiction writing at Princeton University. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

General Fields

  • : 9780099590453
  • : Vintage Publishing
  • : Vintage
  • : October 2016
  • : October 2016
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : John Seabrook
  • : Paperback
  • : Oct-16
  • : 352