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Freeloading: How Our Insatiable Hunger for Free Content Starves Creativity Paperback – 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 270 pages
  • Publisher: OR Books (2012)
  • ISBN-10: 1935928996
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935928997
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,027,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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I even gave it to my teenage son to read and he dug it.
E. J. Mcadams
This is the unsaid, unexamined and unwanted problem our peers refuse to acknowledge or discuss, the great glut.
Anthony Patti
I generally agree with everything Chris writes about in the book, so perhaps that makes me biased.
Mark Dowdell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Morris Rosenthal on April 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I just finished Freeloading and I wanted to comment while the impression is still fresh. Most discussions of piracy and the modern Internet culture focus on social and legal theories and political agendas. This author has chosen instead to write about real-world outcomes, what has already happened and is currently happening in the music world.

I learned more about the modern music industry and the practical goals of both up-and-coming and already-made-it musicians than I thought there was to know. Whether or not you like their music, it's hard not to respect musicians who quit their day jobs to spend years at a time on the road, sleeping in vans with unwashed bandmates, all to generate enough interest in their work for fans to pirate the next album before it's even released.

One of the main points of discussion amongst musicians, managers and labels today is whether "patronage" (generally meaning corporate sponsorship) is the equivalent to selling out. The assumption amongst many freeloading music fans is that the bands make big bucks on the road, but this is only true for the elite groups, more often than not, legacy groups that became famous in past decades under the big label system. Making it today is as much about getting a song placed in a commercial or playing at corporate events as selling albums. It's hard to see how music fans can accept this as a positive outcome, but apparently, the price is right.

The author also does some investigative journalism into the funding behind the supposedly spontaneous anti-SOPA protests, under which Internet billionaires manipulated their captive followers into a frenzy of protest over a bill that most never bothered reading, all in the name of a mythical "slippery slope."

I told two friends with long histories in the music industry to buy this book and if they don't, I'll buy it for them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mark Dowdell on December 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
I'll give it to Chris, he's decided to take on a truly mammoth task. Trying to dismantle and explain the currently discombobulated state of the music industry would be, to anyone else, a fool's errand. With the many sides drowning in their own views, Chris looks at the industry from his own perspective - not as a musician, but someone so in love with the music he's grown up with, that he's at a loss at how an entire generation of people can believe that enjoying music without renumerating the musicians responsible for it can be okay.

In Freeloading, Chris attacks the issues head-on; in a cool, collected manner. His level-headedness is what kept me riveted to this book, as it would anyone currently in turmoil about the effects of music piracy and their reverberations throughout this once prosperous industry. That's not to say that he's entirely unbiased (as would be impossible), but he manages to articulate a certain respect for those who are fine with taking music and not paying for it. He's no apologist, as the main premise of the book speaks for itself, but he wants to address those who are on the fence about the issues, and make it clear WHY we need to pay musicians to continue to make music.

Complete with full interviews from independent musicians (and yes, their respective independent labels), Chris pulls back the curtain on the issues and essentially makes you confront your demons. But he does so in a very pleasant manner, and never falls prey to the cynicism that tends to plague the pro-IP crowd. I generally agree with everything Chris writes about in the book, so perhaps that makes me biased. But I'm glad to be grabbed and reminded what's right and wrong, but also reminded WHY it's right and wrong.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Wendy Wellnitz on December 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
Chris Ruen takes us on a journey of discovery as he comes to terms with the true cost of "free" downloads. Traveling with him forces the reader as well, to come to terms or at least acknowledge the reality of the old adage..."no such thing as a free lunch."

Along the way we are exposed to the visceral reactions of those of us who felt challenged early on by questions he raised in his initial forays into this question of free...at what cost? He exposes his own thin skin, sharing his response to critique and condemnation alike. Luckily for us he toughened up and got serious about what might have remained occasional ruminations in blogging.

FreeLoading is a well written and insightful look at a practice that has changed, is changing and will change how we look at not just music, but art and creativity of all kind in our technologically gifted world. What the digitization and ability to download has done to music and musicians and if you care...to music companies, is already underway in literature. 3-D printing is opening new doors to the potential to have what someone else has created. The questions he raises and the answers he comes to are important issues that all of us have to grapple with. How we respond says more about us than we may care to admit.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. J. Mcadams on December 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
Chris Ruen's Freeloading is not a book I would typically pick up but it was riveting. By siding with the artist, he walks a thin line through the controversy between big bad corps and blowhard pirates, and brings a badly needed perspective. I also liked how he gave artists, music store owners, and independent label execs a chance to speak in their own words. It is a much bigger message that its 264 pages. I even gave it to my teenage son to read and he dug it. Should be required reading for the youth - and their parents!
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