Ripped – Review

Greg Kot’s work, Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music is a look inside the world of music marketing, and distribution, from the mainstream to the underground.

Beginning chronologically, Kot first gives us a mini-review of the history of the music industry, Clear Channel’s monopolization of radio stations, and the obstacles fans faced when it came to wanting to listing to music. The monotony of radio stations added to the high price of CD sales helped a new generation of technie music nerds change the way the public can access new music. Enter Napster.

Kot takes us through a mini history of the rise and fall and second wind of the online music sharing world, from Napster, to Limeware to Bit Torrent peer-to-peer sharing sites. Kot did not spend as much time talking about Itunes, the Ipod as I would have thought. Instead he devoted a large chunk of the book talking about different artists, (Bright Eyes, Arcade Fire, Lilly Allen, Danger Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie etc) and how they used the Internet to develop their careers, how the Internet chose them to be music darlings in the underground, and how artists such as Prince and Radiohead broke away from the typical music industry rules and regulations to try and go back to the basic roots of giving music to the fans without the middlemen siphoning money away from the artists.

Kot discusses copyright issues, he goes into details about rock music, hip hop’s tendency to use sampling as an artform, and how the music industry has finally learned to evolve with where the Internet is taking them.

This book is most certainly for music buffs, or anyone who downloads cds. My boyfriend is a big music-nerd, so many of the bands discussed in this book, I had already heard of and knew something of their rise to fame. Its funny how the generation the author talks about in the books is my same generation, the one that saw the Napster v. Metallica wars on the news in high school. Who went to college and learned about lime-ware, bit torrent, You Tube, MySpace, Facebook, etc.  I hoped that Kot would have written something about Pandora and all its loveliness in providing me with hours of free music of various forms, styles and genres. Published in 2009, I think Pandora would have been a good addition to the rest of the book.

I loved his sections when he was talking about the individual bands. It reminded me of the band-biographies I used to read in high school because I couldn’t afford to buy the cd’s at the local Wherehouse Music. I knew the entire history start to finish of Babes in Toyland w/o having heard a single song of theirs. Reading descriptions of music that you have listened to is a very strange feeling. Everyone feels and reacts differently to a song, they are much more open to interpretation.

You could sense his love for music, he stayed objective with his facts, by neither blasting the music industry nor condoning what downloaders do as valid. I never felt that Kot spent too much time on any one topic, his writing style was very informative, but also felt like a casual conversation instead of reading like a book of facts about music and the Internet.

This book also a part of my Dewey Decimal Challenge for the 700s Century.

Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music
by Greg Kot
Scribner, 2009
Dewey: 780.2854 Kot
ISBN 1416547274
252 pages

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Find this book at your local library

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2 responses to “Ripped – Review

  1. You’ve reminded me I still have one more Dewey book to go.

    This one sounds interesting. I think we’ve yet to see all the changes the internet is going to bring to music. I just don’t see what we really need record companies for anymore.

  2. Pingback: 2009 Recap « The Novel World

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