The Brill Building and the creative labour of the professional songwriter

Barber, Simon (2016) The Brill Building and the creative labour of the professional songwriter. In: The Cambridge Companion to the Singer-Songwriter. Cambridge University Press, pp. 67-77. ISBN 9781316569207

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This research explores the ways in which organized approaches to creative work can improve productivity, increase the likelihood of commercial success, and sustain careers. This is accomplished through a case study of the working practices of a number of professional songwriting teams situated in and around the Brill Building in New York during the 1960s. The argument is illustrated by Brill Building-era alumni like Neil Sedaka, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Jeff Barry and Mike Stoller, who speak through a series of original interviews created by the author for Sodajerker On Songwriting, a podcast devoted to the art and craft of songwriting. The precarity of this form of labour is addressed by situating the career trajectories of these professional songwriters within a broader continuum of musical and industrial practice. The emergence of Motown is presented as an example of the ongoing adoption of strategic routines in the pop production process after the decline of the ‘Brill Building sound’.

Item Type: Book Section
Identification Number:
22 October 2013Accepted
4 May 2016Published
Subjects: CAH24 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01-05 - media studies
CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-02 - performing arts > CAH25-02-02 - music
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham School of Media
Depositing User: Simon Barber
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2018 10:24
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2023 15:13

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