© 2019

Creativity in the Recording Studio

Alternative Takes

  • Examines the human, social, cultural and technical aspects of creation of popular music using a confluence approach to creativity

  • Navigates major theoretical concepts of creativity and how they connect

  • to the activities occurring outside and inside the recording studio

  • Challenges the myths of creativity, combining a number of perspectives from sociology and psychology


Part of the Leisure Studies in a Global Era book series (LSGE)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Paul Thompson
    Pages 1-11
  3. SIDE A—Creativity as a System

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 13-13
    2. Paul Thompson
      Pages 15-44
    3. Paul Thompson
      Pages 69-90
    4. Paul Thompson
      Pages 91-113
  4. SIDE B—Creative Systems in Action

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 115-115
    2. Paul Thompson
      Pages 117-147
    3. Paul Thompson
      Pages 149-174
    4. Paul Thompson
      Pages 175-200
    5. Paul Thompson
      Pages 201-231
    6. Paul Thompson
      Pages 233-246
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 247-285

About this book


Creativity in the Recording Studio: Alternative Takes offers a fresh and fascinating look behind the scenes of the record making process. This book is an indispensable addition to the record production bookshelf.” – Albin Zak, Professor of Music, University at Albany, USA and author of The Poetics of Rock: Cutting Tracks, Making Records.


“In this detailed and global tour de force, Paul Thompson very effectively dispels the romantic notion of the singular genius in record production. Using Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's systems theory he illustrates the complexity of the creative process and the multiplicity of its contributors through the use of familiar and relevant clarifying examples.” - Richard James Burgess, record producer, music engineer, and author of The Art of Music Production and The History of Music Production


Paul Thompson offers an alternative take on the romanticized and mythologized process of record-making. Side A illustrates how creativity arises out of a system in action, and introduces the history, culture, traditions and institutions that contribute to the process of commercial record production.  Side B demonstrates this system in action during the central tasks of songwriting, performing, engineering and producing. Using examples from John Lennon, David Bowie, Tupac Shakur, Björk, Marta Salogni, Sylvia Massy and Rick Rubin, each chapter takes the reader inside a different part of the commercial record production process and uncovers the interactive and interrelated multitude of factors involved in each creative task.


Popular music Collaboration Systems Approach Creative system Music production Songwriting

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Leeds Beckett UniversityLeedsUK

About the authors

Paul Thompson is a professional recording engineer who has worked in the music industry for over 10 years. He is currently a Reader at Leeds Beckett University and his research is centred on record production, audio education, learning practices, creativity and cultural production in popular music.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Creativity in the Recording Studio
  • Book Subtitle Alternative Takes
  • Authors Paul Thompson
  • Series Title Leisure Studies in a Global Era
  • Series Abbreviated Title Leisure Studies in a Global Era
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG, part of Springer Nature 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-01649-4
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-01650-0
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIV, 285
  • Number of Illustrations 31 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Sociology of Sport and Leisure
    Sociology of Culture
  • Buy this book on publisher's site