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Appetite For Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash Of The Record Industry In The Digital Age (2009)

Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age (2009)
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3.8 of 5 Votes: 4
ISBN
1416552154 (ISBN13: 9781416552154)
languge
English
publisher
Free Press
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Appetite For Self-Destruction: The Sp...
Appetite For Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash Of The Record Industry In The Digital Age (2009)

About book: Yes, at times this gets pretty heavy into how deals were made, but overall it is a pretty fascinating look at how the record industry has imploded over the last few decades. Not so much the music industry, which seems to be chugging along pretty well, but the industry which counted on nearly exponential growth forever. He traces the initial fall, the death of disco nearly killing off the industry until MTV and CDs (both fought against by the industry) save them. CDs allow them to resell the same stuff all over again just in a new format and because it is shiny, they set the prices sky high (to recoop the retooling, suspiciously the prices never drop once the CD factories are built) and further screw over the artists with new contracts. Meanwhile, the record industry is floating sky high, which their faces buried in mountains of coke. Singles are abandoned, forcing listeners to buy a $16 CD to get the one good song on it. Clear Channel raises its ugly head, turning radio into a wasteland of payola garbage.Setting the stage for Napster and its unofficial repackaging of CDs into singles again. And mountains of lawsuits against their own customers. And so on. It is a fairly sad story, leaving the artists continually screwed over, first by the record industry then by Apple screwing everybody over with iTunes.There are some rays of hope though. Artists learn that the record industry isn't always necessary, going directly to your fans might just be a good way to support yourself. The book ends in 2009 with change still in the air and an uncertain future. Likely music will survive but the record industry, with its unwillingness to accept a changing world, might not. One doesn’t have to work in the music industry (although that is indeed my career background); to know that things aren’t looking so good right now. However, that also depends on where you’re standing. Regardless, the clarity of the situation is that things changed with digital. Not just digital in the iTunes realm, but dating back to the advent of CDs. That is where Appetite for Self-Destruction begins…Appetite for Self-Destruction is divided into time frames depicting how each era in the recording industry led up to (or was effected by) the digital wave and eminent crash of the industry as we knew it. This sequencing is clear and logical, providing for easy understanding. However, the text does get bogged down with slow parts which aren’t necessarily ideal for an average reader and more targeted toward someone who either works in the industry or is truly interested in the inner-workings. For example, the explanation of the invention of CDs consists of a chapter which can cause many eyes to droop with technical and engineering jargon. Yet, your eyes are again alerted as Steve Knopper then focuses on the industry reactions to CDs (all were effected at the time: royalties, record stores, even environmentalists due to the early CD packaging of “longboxes”). I had some problems with cohesiveness. The information was very “jumpy” seeming like Knopper had a mountain of information to present and was afraid he would forget it so he kept rushing it out there. Which brings me to my next point: much of the book is a simple re-telling of facts. Much of the “how” is covered but not the “why” resulting in a lack of deeper explanations, investigations, or future bearings on the industry. In fact, Knopper focuses too much on background info versus the topic at hand. For instance, there was more information on Shawn Fanning’s teen years and bio of his life than his company Napster’s influence on the industry. Not only does this result in the reader being unaware of what Knopper is trying to “prove” in his writing, but it also causes a lack of compelling or revealing particulars. Appetite for Destruction is written in a manner which will either anger readers or make them feel like one of Knopper’s best friends; as it contains slang, cuss words, and short sentences. The informal language becomes annoying especially as the books follows patterns of having long, informative chunks, then an even longer boring section, and then another entertaining passage, etc. No consistency was evident. One thing is certainly made clear by Knopper: the recording industry only reacts to its surroundings. They don’t know how to prepare ahead of time for changes and are stuck in their ways (usually to protect salaries) so execs go into crisis management mode when large events effect the industry. Sadly, this is too little, too late. Further, the industry generally runs to one solution: law suits. Sue, sue, sue. Sue everyone! Court, court, court! This way of handling things doesn’t solve anything and is the reason that there exists a love/hate relationship between the industry and fans. In time, this rift can only grow unless properly bandaged. Bottom line: The record industry and music industry are two separate animals. There will always be a music industry. Record industry? Not so much. But you don’t have to read this book to know that much.
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Reviews
cath
Great overview of how the record industry shot itself in both feet!
River
Super sad - but that's what you get when you refuse to change...
eddiev555
loved it!
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