Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The 44-year-old Swede responsible for more hits than Phil Spector, Michael Jackson or the Beatles

If you thought the Wrecking Crew and the Funk Bros. dominated pop music in an unprecedented way in the 1960s, you haven't been paying attention to pop music today. From The Atlantic:

     The biggest pop star in America today is a man named Karl Martin Sandberg. ...Sandberg grew up in a remote suburb of Stockholm and is now 44... He is responsible for more hits than Phil Spector, Michael Jackson, or the Beatles.
     Ater Sandberg come the bald Norwegians, Mikkel Eriksen and Tor Hermansen, 43 and 44; Lukasz Gottwald, 42, a Sandberg protégé and collaborator ...and another Sandberg collaborator named Esther Dean, 33, a former nurse’s aide from Oklahoma who was discovered in the audience of a Gap Band concert, singing along to “Oops Upside Your Head.” They use pseudonyms professionally, but most Americans wouldn’t recognize those, either: Max Martin, Stargate, Dr. Luke, and Ester Dean.
     ...Millions of Swifties and KatyCats—as well as Beliebers, Barbz, and Selenators, and the Rihanna Navy—would be stunned by the revelation that a handful of people, a crazily high percentage of them middle-aged Scandinavian men, write most of America’s pop hits. 
     ...A short-attention-span culture demands short-attention-span songs. The writers of Tin Pan Alley and Motown had to write only one killer hook to get a hit. Now you need a new high every seven seconds—the average length of time a listener will give a radio station before changing the channel. “It’s not enough to have one hook anymore,” Jay Brown, a co-founder of Jay Z’s Roc Nation label, tells Seabrook. “You’ve got to have a hook in the intro, a hook in the pre, a hook in the chorus, and a hook in the bridge, too.”

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