Denniz Pop and the mere-exposure effect.

Denniz Pop (real name Dag Krister (Dagge) Volle) – was a Swedish DJ, producer and songwriter who in the 1990s produced music for some of the biggest stars in the world and laid the foundation for a golden age of music production and songwriting in Sweden. He was responsible for not only giving the more celebrated Max Martin his first job, but also naming him.

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Denniz’s first breakthrough was with the Swedish band Ace of Base. He produced their two biggest hits – ‘All That She Wants‘ and ‘The Sign‘ – but it could have all been so different.

Ulf Ekberg and Jonas Berggren were two of the four members of Ace of Base. They heard some of Denniz’s work, and loved his sound. They approached him and gave him a demo tape of the song that eventually became All That She Wants, but was then called Mr. Ace.

Denniz put it in the cassette deck of his Nissan Micra on the way home, but had decided before he got there that he didn’t like it and wasn’t going to produce the band. However, in a twist of fate, the eject button broke and he couldn’t dislodge the tape. Hence he had to listen to it over and over again for two weeks or so, and this familiarity firstly led him to like it more, and then to hear enough in the song to convince him that with the right production and arrangement, he could make something good from it.

And he did, and the history of pop music was changed forever.

This story is explained by a psychological phenomenon called the mere-exposure effect. It claims that people develop more of a liking for something simply by being more familiar with it and has been proved in relation to faces, sounds, paintings, words, and songs.

Remember this next time you dismiss something or someone after one encounter.

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