The Song Machine: Inside The Hit Factory
By: John Seabrook
W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (October 5, 2015)
The Song Machine is an expose into the world of professional hit-making. Hit-making for pop music that is. It turns out that country music, for instance, is written in a different way. See, everything in the music industry comes down to making a hit song. Hit songs drive the entire economic ship. I also learned, that in the same way facts are not important to persuasion, the least important part of a song might just be the lyrics.
Two of my favorite quotes:
A smash hit not only makes the songwriters a bundle on radio spins, it also moves the album, which generally benefits the label, and sells tickets to the world tour, which is how the artists make most of their money. A historic smash can be worth hundreds of millions for the rights holders over the term of its copyright, which, depending on when the song was composed, is the life of its composers plus fifty or sixty years. “Stairway to Heaven” alone was said to have earned its rights holders more than half a billion dollars by 2008.
Who are the hit makers? They are enormously influential culture shapers—the Spielbergs and Lucases of our national headphones—and yet they are mostly anonymous. Directors of films are public figures, but the people behind pop songs remain in the shadows, taking aliases, by necessity if not by choice, in order to preserve the illusion that the singer is the author of the song.