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Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  660 Ratings  ·  97 Reviews
No less than a decade ago, the majority of mainstream music was funneled through a handful of media conglomerates. But now more individuals are listening to more music from a greater variety of sources than at any time in history.

Ripped tells the story of how the laptop generation created a new music industry, with fans and bands rather than corporations in charge. In this
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by Scribner (first published 2009)
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(showing 1-30)
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Gus Sanchez
Greg Kot examines the role of the Internet in bringing the consumer, i.e., the music listener, back into the picture in the music industry over the past decade. As broadband Internet has become more prevalent, access to music, either via download or streaming media, has become easier, but not without a price; the RIAA's reluctance - outright hostility, really - towards embracing the Internet forced fans to seek alternate routes towards acquiring music that was already too expensive in traditiona ...more
Jun 10, 2009 Ben rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ripped is a decent basic overview of the digital revolution but Kot completely avoids the negative consequences of illegal file sharing from the small artist's perspective, preferring instead to point out the admittedly hysterical reaction of the Big 5 and RIAA. But the real victims of illegal file sharing are regular working musicians.

For every success story like the Arcade Fire or Death Cab For Cutie, there are a thousand other bands that will die on the vine because of illegal file sharing.
Phil Simon
Mar 12, 2010 Phil Simon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent look at the rise of digital music. It's fascinating to hear about different artists' attempts to circumvent record companies, the necessary evils of traditional distribution and marketing. Kot does a great job of providing different examples of artists' innovation in this well-researched, compelling book.
Blog on Books
Mar 29, 2010 Blog on Books rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In honor of the recent Grammy week in L.A., we thought it would be a good time to touch base with Greg Kot’s recent book, ‘Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music.’
Kot, the music critic for the Chicago Tribune and co-host of the syndicated radio show Sound Opinions, chronicles all the major events of the past decade relating not so much to the so-called decline of the music business, but the way in which smart and clever artists have made new and interesting uses of the technology
Aug 10, 2011 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As the title indicates, Kot's book follows the digital revolution and it's impact specifically on the music business. Being born in 1981 and fairly tech-saavy, this is a revolution I fully participated in and continue to live through. Kot did an excellent job capturing some of the key points in the timeline and explaining those events in clear terms without dumbing it down.

As a 'music downloader', I was surprised that Kot was able to recount events that I was unaware of, or had slipped under my
Kot examines the influence of the internet on the music industry, portraying the behemoth record companies as the Goliath that have fallen against the stones of the artists and fans that have harnessed the power of the internet to transform the way music is made and distributed. Specific chapters include the stories of Metallica, Arcade Fire, Death Cab for Cutie, Prince, Conor Oberst, Radiohead, and Pitchfork Media as examples of the various ways technology changed things. While at times the por ...more
May 30, 2009 Oscar rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Greg Kot's new book examines the role of king maker as the music industry shifts from local radio to the age of Clear Channel to the MP3 era with a clear time-line, a mix of public knowledge and behind-the-scenes interviews, and an optimistic view of American music's future for a concise overview of 21st century music trends.

Kot is at his best when talking about the emergence of Wilco and Arcade Fire, two bands that benefited greatly from early internet exposure. The chapter detailing the rise o
May 04, 2009 Ellie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Kot examines the role technology has played in shaping the music industry and how these entities (Internet, MP3s, MP3 players, music software, etc.) have come to replace CDs, records, instruments, the snobby knowledgeable friend. Kot's arguments are well-researched and his catalogue of quotes from artists, producers, managers, lawyers, and fans make an obvious case against the record label/management juggernaut, which by all accounts is not giving any favors to the artists. At times, the writing ...more
Aug 31, 2016 Zhuojun rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Biased, misleading, and worst of all, ignorant of the basic principles of business and economics.
The Brain in the Jar
I expected to me a a lot nerdier than it was. I thought it was going to be one of those books only read by people who have 1000 ratings in RYM and get into serious arguments in shoutboxes. I would've been okay with that. I'm such a nerd. Instead, it turned out to be more like a supplement to Free Culture, only focused on music with less jargon.

That means that even if finding new music is not part of your everyday activities, you might still want to read it. Even the most casual listeners
Apr 17, 2009 Katy-Del rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I just received an email that I am getting this from the First Reads Drawing!!!

Nothing is as good as free books

This was a great non-fiction book. Some Non-fiction books, no matter how interesting the topic, are really boring and hard to get through. Greg Kot succeeded in creating a narritive that really explained what happened in the late nineties to the music industry. Massive conglomerates started buying up small labels as money makers, often dumping fledg
Apr 17, 2009 Gabriel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are considering reading this book and you are not an immediate part of the music industry, then you should. Most likely you will learn something or find a new way to justify your method of finding the music you listen to.

Greg Kot's book has done a great job of consolidating most of the information about the wireless revolution and its impact on the music industry. It is a very biased take (as most historical documents are, but this does little to mask who Kot believes the "bad guy" is), b
Apr 17, 2009 Kristine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
this felt very immediate and succinctly (and entertainingly) covered how the music industry has struggled over the past decade with the advent of MP3s and how bands have successfully promoted themselves over the internet (and sometimes in spite of their own record companies). with chapters, interviews and/or sections devoted to radiohead, nine inch nails, wilco, the arcade fire, bright eyes, and others, it was fun and insightful to read about how technology has really changed the face of music.

Apr 29, 2009 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This was my first free book to read and review.
This book is more for the younger generation and how the music industry failed to stay current with the internet. I found the book a little tiring in some spots only because I personally am not current with today's music scene.

I am a teen from the 60's and will forever be a flower child. When I was a teen, the radio stations played great tunes, we listened, bought the singles, then the whole album. We weren't interested in what the big record compa
Sep 08, 2009 dara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: indie rock fans
Shelves: read-in-2009
This is relevant to my interests.

This book is slanted towards indie rock music, but personally I don't mind. It put a few things into perspective for me, and raised my attention to aspects of the music industry I had never given much thought. Music technology and the ability to share, distribute, and promote it by the bands and fans themselves is advancing more rapidly than the outdated music industry has been able to adapt. Although this has given artists more possibilities, it has also come wi
Jun 11, 2009 Michael rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Strictly speaking, I didn't read this book - I sorta browsed it after reading the first 30-40 pages.

I don't know what the problem is - I write email messages to people that are often three-four times longer than they should be (or so it seems after completing them) but I often find that non-fiction books I read any more seem like they would have been more successful as a magazine article than as a book.

I think this book is mis-sub-titled. It is far more about specific indie music groups than it
Jun 14, 2015 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is certainly an interesting and educational look at how the internet shaped the music industry from the late 90s through the early Aughts. Kot's writing on the subject not only offers a well-researched look at the developments of the time, but also gives us readers a vocal-point of someone who's intrigued by the idea as much as we are; one can definitely feel his personality coming through the words as he submits stories of how Wilco, Radiohead, Arcade Fire, and Lily Allen broke down t ...more
Dec 03, 2010 Dujon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If anyone needed a recap as to the chaotic state of today’s music industry, this is it. “Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music” by Greg Kot is all about how technology turned the industry upside down, and not much has changed since its release in 2009 — the major labels still have no idea what they’re doing while Apple continues get richer off their backs.

The book touches on a lot of issues like the RIAA lawsuits against file-sharers (they once sued a 12 year old girl who ended u
Mar 20, 2010 Lani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: modern music fans
Shelves: music, own, non-fiction
This gets an extra star for being in the $1 sale at Borders and being such an unexpectedly awesome book!

When I saw that the author had written a book about Wilco I cringed. But, it's a dollar... what isn't worth a dollar?

What a fascinating book! It's probably quite dated, and the perspective was certainly skewed towards the artist/piracy/digital freedom side of the argument. But I agree with that perspective for the most part, and I enjoyed having more evidence to back up my beliefs.

I was pretty
May 27, 2009 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves music but hates the radio
Recommended to Jennifer by: Thomas Cray
Shelves: read-2010
As someone who has lived through the full range of music delivery systems from vinyl to MP3, I found Greg Kot's history of how the Internet and digital technology changed and challenged the music industry to be both entertaining and enlightening. I'm a big fan of Sound Opinions, where Greg and Jim Deragotis often bring up issues related to copyright and digital downloading and so it was helpful to read a more thorough and nuanced discussion of the issues at stake. The fact that my friend, Thomas ...more
Oct 11, 2009 Laren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music-industry
The music critic for the Chicago Tribune writes about how the music business has changed with the advent of internet file sharing/free music downloads. He examines in detail how some artists have been able to adjust pricing, distribution and/or revenue sharing models so that they can continue (or in some cases, start) to earn money despite this continuing threat to music revenue. Also included is how the music industry continues to cut off their own feet instead of making progress.

This book is m
Jun 07, 2010 Erica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
If you're even considering reading this book, trust me- DO IT. Every page is chock full of information; but, because of Kot's superb organization and dynamic writing style, it's never dull. No sentence goes to waste, as Kot takes care to explain fully and effectively the first time around. No dallying around with an author's personal indulgence here- it's clear Kot is from a journalistic background. He makes it easy to follow his reporting. His talent to write about music shines through as well. ...more
Mar 30, 2013 Eugene rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is refreshing because it puts artists on the same side as consumers - the way it should be! While illegal downloading does threaten the industry, it must be observed that the businessmen in the music industry are perhaps more culpable. Their profit motives have not only narrowed the public playlists of consumers (particularly radio), but also hampered artist development and expression.

The book raises many examples of musicians who have succeeded - and made money - by turning away from
Jul 30, 2012 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a great basic overview of exactly what the title says. If you know a lot about Napster, Mettalica, Prince leaving his label, the Grey Album, Paul McCartney and Starbucks, and iTunes, than you won't necessary need to read this at all. For me it was just the right combination of stuff I knew a decent amount about but wanted to know more, and stuff I didn't know about but which tied right in with the other stuff I knew a bit about. Hope that makes sense. Anyway Kot is an easy writer. T ...more
Jun 18, 2013 Jay rated it liked it
Recommended to Jay by: Goodreads recommendation
Shelves: music, media, business
I liked Greg Kot's book on the popular ripping, sampling, and sharing of music, but not so much for the discussion of the business or ethics. Kot embeds a number of interesting music critic discussions on the history of bands and on the specifics of songs. The book is mostly 10 page chapters, roughly the size of a column in a music magazine, and that is exactly how this book reads - like a compilation of columns. Kot tends to focus on the good effects of sharing music, finding new kinds of distr ...more
Aug 08, 2012 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cultural-studies
Kot does a truly marvelous job tracking the industry's transitioning from the birth of Napster to the first signs of cloud-based music. Kot's collection of tales is framed with the artist's motivation in mind, telling the reader stories with deep, personal interview from the band and the fans. Of all the music industry books I have read so far, this is definitely the "coolest" one, drawing on the stories of Radiohead, Trent Reznor, Connor Oberst, Prince, and more, to relay the message of how the ...more
David Chivers
Jul 28, 2011 David Chivers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The subject is fascinating - how the music industry has transformed itself from a CD industry dominated bya few big labels and major radio conglomerates into an internet based, digital, file sharing anarchy. The book explores, briefly,how this happened, and touches upon what it could mean for the future. But most of the book is spent presenting cases studies, but the author spends more time writing about the music itself than how the band fit into the new ways of doing things. I would have found ...more
Feb 22, 2012 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, music
If you're interested in how the "shape" of music has evolved (most discussion from CD to mp3, though 8-tracks, vinyl and cassettes are discussed as well), how inept the record companies have been in adapting to the demands of their audience and that audience's technology, and if you want to know details about the ingenuity of Prince, Radiohead, Trent Reznor, you'll find this fascinating. Though I lived through the Napster/Metallica debacle, I found the chapter compelling for how hindsight can il ...more
Mar 30, 2012 Joe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 Stars...mostly because I wanted (expected?) this book to be something a bit more interesting. It is a brief history of how the internet forced the music industry to change -- as seen through the experiences of Death Cab, Pitchfork, Saddle Creek, Wilco, Girl Talk, Arcade Fire, and others. At some points I felt like I had read far too many consecutive pages reading about a particular band's record catalogue and sound and opposed to other things. Mainly, I wanted this book to take a ...more
Gary Anderson
Oct 02, 2009 Gary Anderson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating overview of how artists and record companies have dealt with technological innovations.

Reecord companies have become increasingly obsolete as music fans have found ways to obtain music for free. Artist reactions have ranged from Metallica's thuggish tirades to Radiohead's giveaways. This book examines the pros, cons, and surprises of each approach.

An unexpected bonus in Kot's book is the treatment of how rock journalism has rolled with these innovations.

I held back one star because s
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