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The Swedish DJ Who Invented Industrially-Manufactured Pop Music

"BBC Culture reports on DJ Denniz Pop (born Dagge Volle), who couldn't sing, play an instrument, or write a song but could mathematically craft a song from stitching together electronically programmed sounds and beats," writes Slashdot reader dryriver. "Pop was the musical brains behind acts ranging from the Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, Ace Of Base to Britney Spears, and trained Max Martin who wrote 22 Billbooard #1 hits for the likes of Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, Katy Perry, P!nk, Justin Timberlake, Ariana Grande and Maroon 5 using a technique called 'Melodic Math.'" From the report: In a basement in Stockholm's suburbs, Pop brought together an elite team of eight songwriters and producers for a new venture -- Cheiron Studios -- in 1992. Over the next eight years they would go on to sell hundreds of millions of records through the likes of Ace of Base, 5ive, Robyn, Boyzone, Backstreet Boys, Westlife, *NSYNC and Britney Spears. The secret of their songwriting success was to marry the melody to the beat, not work against it, and to have a big chorus. The team at Cheiron followed Pop's example, experimenting in clubs across the capital with up to a hundred different versions of each new track -- meticulously documenting the combinations of beats and melodies that made the club crowds go wild. Through these experiments, an entirely new genre of music blossomed, one that seemed tailor-made for the age of manufactured boybands and girl groups. Having grown up in socialist Sweden, Pop's approach to writing music was almost utilitarian. Like so many Swedish success stories -- IKEA, H&M, Volvo and Spotify -- the Cheiron team wanted their product to appeal to the maximum amount of people, which in a country with a population of only nine million meant focusing outside the nation's borders. Pop designed his music to reflect the lives of the people who bought more music than anyone else -- American teenagers -- at least as far as he understood them from his basement in faraway Stockholm.


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