“I was driving down a road and there was a big sign saying ‘Factory For Sale’ standing out in neon, and I thought, ‘Factory, that’s the name,’ because a factory was a place where people work and create things, and I thought to myself, these are workers who are also musicians and they’ll be creative.” Alan Erasmus, Factory Records.
My second book, titled Hit Factories: A Journey Through the Industrial Cities of British Pop, will be published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in May 2019. (Pre-order it from Amazon here.)
Here’s a brief summary:
The sound of British pop music was shaped by its industrial cities. In Hit Factories, Karl Whitney (Hidden City: Adventures and Explorations in Dublin) walks the terrain of British pop with a map in hand and a head filled with music and its many myths. Making the journey through the regional powerhouses of traditional industry to unpick their musical pasts, he illustrates how the rise of pop music pointed the way towards a post-industrial future. In an age in which digital infrastructure has hastened the dematerialisation of music, Hit Factories is a look back at the possibilities held by British pop, an exploration of its locations, and a close examination of the fate of music and culture in regional British cities.
Coverage in The Bookseller here.
I’m compiling a Hit Factories playlist on Spotify.