Gus Sanchez's Reviews > Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music

Ripped by Greg Kot
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's review
Nov 16, 09

bookshelves: music

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 traditional format; the meteoric rise of Napster bore fruit to hundreds of other file-sharing browsers. The RIAA's ridiculous, archaic stance also forced artists from their own labels to seek alternate routes in distributing their own music. The most eye-popping example was Radiohead releasing In Rainbows, via the Internet, without the help or funding from a record label, and allowing fans to name their download price.

While Kot admirably paints the struggles of both the artists and the fans to regain control of music, he fails to document the downside to this so-called "revolution". As brilliant a strategy as Radiohead's In Rainbows distribution was, it could have easily blown up in their face; it took a tremendous leap of faith for the band to commit an entire album in this fashion, but the consequences did exist, and should have been more clearly noted. Kot also fails to document how every revolution in music bears unintended fruit - the DIY status of music, and making it readily available for immediate consumption doesn't guarantee success; for every struggling artists carving their niche on various social networking sites, you've got other artists like Lady Gaga and Soulja Boy who, while orginating online, have become yet another disposable product of the RIAA's Public Relations Machine.

Overall, it's an interesting read, but it would have served both the subjects and the book's readers a more thorough analysis and prognosis regarding the future of wired music.
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