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Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age Hardcover – Bargain Price, January 6, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
I grew up going to record stores, then chain stores, then saw the advent of the CD when I started college. I lived through the CD boom and read about big-name acts signing new contracts worth untold millions of dollars primarily because their back catalogs were selling so well when the world was upgrading their record collections from vinyl to CD. I watched in horror as the "boy bands" seemed to take over. I again watched in horror as the labels pushed only the best-selling artists and dumped the rest from their rosters. I moaned in disbelief when I learned that WalMart was the biggest brick-and-mortar retailer of recorded music, and that was sad and unfortunate because their selection was so narrow. I nearly cried as the rock radio stations I listened to became far more repetitive and far less interesting. I was initially horrified by Napster and sided with Metallica -- file swapping was theft, plain and simple. But the labels' litigious response to it was no less outrageous. Understandable on some level, but outrageous nonetheless. When digital music became the norm, the powers-that-be did everything they could to stem the tide, and they did it in such a way to sour the record-buying experience.
Perhaps worst of all, though, is that the "album" has all but died. It's all about the hit single. There is almost no such thing as artist development anymore. Remember a few decades ago when artist would put out a record every calendar year and tour behind it every calendar year?Read more ›
Moreover, Knopper describes how the rise of Napster ultimately lead to severe bleeding within the music industry due to the consumer now having the knowledge to easily pirate music. The reaction of the music industry to Napster and its smaller subsequent file-sharing groups eventually lead to the now slow death of major labels. Knopper details how and why this happened. Additionally, Knopper details how Steve Jobs (of Apple computers) strong-armed the five major music labels into deals that lead to iTunes and huge sales of the iPod. This trend ultimately changed the music industry and pushed it into a direction to which it has not adjusted very well.
In fact, according to Knopper, it has taken the major music labels nearly ten years to realize how technology can actually help the industry, but now its probably too late. Moreover, many bands and artists are actually turning to their own independent methods of releasing their new albums and songs. These bands and artists (such as NIN, Radiohead, the Eagles, etc.Read more ›
It covers the supposed disco and boy band obsession which record labels dived in and hoped that it would last forever, the "pay-to-play" practices that made the Top 40 a place where only paid music - not necessarily good music - deserved to be, lousy contracts which exploited artists to the bone, skepticism over new technologies and business models and disrespectful practices toward consumers (the infamous Sony BMG CDs infected with root kits, the inflated Album CD prices, the killing of CD singles and the RIAA lawsuits), showing that the music industry had made one mistake after another that ended up leading it to the situation it is today.
The only thing I disagree about the author's thoughts is the notion that the CD is deemed to die completely. I don't really think this is going to happen, because CDs still caters to a great number of people who cares about a better sound quality (which is far better then MP3, as a matter of fact) and likes to hold a physical, collectible product. It is correct to assume that less and less CDs will be sold over time and that shelf space devoted to them is getting thinner, but it is not going to disappear completely.
Entertaining and easy to read book, go for it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Even just six years later, this already seems like ancient history - the MP3 has already been replaced by streaming services. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Nathan Webster
I found this book to be very dry, very much like the textbooks in high school. It drops a lot of names, facts & figures. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Norm K
Well written with a true flavor of the business. This should be required reading for aspiring music execs.Published 7 months ago by Cecil Hale
Great work on how the music industry, record labels, and musicians have failed and refused to evolve to changing times. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Doug Smith
Read this and you'll laugh at how inept the record business was back when they had a chance for survival. Instead they lost all their power.Published 20 months ago by Stacy Greenberg
An excellent recap of the last 35 years in the record industry, from the death of disco until today, Knopper makes a convincing case that the industry was blind to the... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Ohio Business College