Dane Hansberger adjusted his headphones and stepped up to the microphone in the recording booth. He looked down at the sheet of paper that he’d just been handed by the producer. It contained the lyrics of his new single he was about to put out, “Melon Sky”. Daine frowned; he didn’t even know half of the words in the song.
“How do you pronounce this word?” he asked as he held the sheet up to the glass at the front of the booth.
The producer, clad in red flannel pajamas with matching slippers, pulled herself out of an easy chair and ambled over. “Just like it’s spelled.“
Daine shrugged and nodded at the sound technician. After a few moments, a button in the booth began flashing red. The recording session had begun. Daine stepped back up to the mic and began to read the sheet of paper in an almost monotone voice.
“I’m looking for a girl who’s got all the right curves and a smile on her face that lights up the whole place…”
After Daine finished his recitation, the sound tech game him a big smile and big thumbs up. He fiddled with the computer for a minute or two before looking up. “Ok, it’s ready. You wanna hear it, man?”
Daine pulled off his headphones and shrugged. “Sure.”
The song that played through the speakers in the recording booth resembled Daine’s original reading in the sense that a light summer breeze resembles a hurricane. His voice had been transformed from “Calculus at 8:00 a.m.” to something that soared and dipped in a mathematically derived chord and octave progression. The lyrics, originally designed for maximum remembrance by vapid teenagers, somehow fit together in a way that made the song seem like it meant something without actually having any depth whatsoever. Finally, the entire supporting suite of instruments and backup vocals had been conjured out of thin air.
The agent responsible for transforming Daine’s lifeless performance into a chart topping hit was the small laptop computer sitting outside the recording booth. The raw recording had been uploaded to a server that analyzed the lyrics and performed a multivariable analysis to maximize the popular appeal of the song. In order to perform its computations, the server relied heavily on an online database containing information on current trends, worldwide download preferences, and historical data on thousands of songs. The results were impressive, at least from a financial sense. The transition of what used to be art to an exact science had allowed the three man team to produce a hit song in one take, with minimal editing, and inexpensive equipment. It also allowed them to produce an entire album of sixteen songs in one session.
“So where are you off to?” Daine asked the producer as they locked up the recording studio around two o’clock in the afternoon and headed for the parking lot.
“I have another session tomorrow, then I’ll fly to New York to see Mike and the boys. You?”
“I’m off to the Bahamas to get some scuba diving in before it gets too cold. Then I thought I’d visit Australia for a bit and miss out on winter altogether.”
“Sounds good! See you next year.”
Daine sauntered over to his Rolls-Royce, hopped in, and started the car. As he pulled out of the parking lot, he turned on the radio and fiddled with the dial until he found the station that he wanted. They were just coming back from a commercial break.
“This is the afternoon cruise on here on 104.1, the Siren. We've got some new music coming your way...up next up is a hit new song by Dane Hansberger. It's called ‘Melon Sky’.”