Ripped

How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music

About The Book

A decade ago the vast majority of mainstream music was funneled through a handful of media conglomerates. Now, more people are listening to more music from a greater variety of sources than at any time in history. And big corporations such as Viacom, Clear Channel, and Sony are no longer the sole gatekeepers and distributors, their monopoly busted by a revolution -- an uprising led by bands and fans networking on the Internet. Ripped tells the story of how the laptop generation created a new grassroots music industry, with the fans and bands rather than the corporations in charge. In this new world, bands aren't just musicmakers but self-contained multimedia businesses; and fans aren't just consumers but distributors and even collaborators.

As the Web popularized bands and albums that previously would have been relegated to obscurity, innovative artists -- from Prince to Death Cab for Cutie -- started coming up with, and stumbling into, alternative ways of getting their music out to fans. Live music took on an even more significant role. TV shows and commercials emerged as great places to hear new tunes. Sample-based composition and mash-ups leapfrogged ahead of the industry's, and the law's, ability to keep up with them. Then, in 2007, Radiohead released an album exclusively on the Internet and allowed customers to name their own price, including $0.00. Radiohead's "it's up to you" marketing coup seized on a concept the old music industry had forgotten: the customer is always right.

National radio host and critically acclaimed music journalist Greg Kot masterfully chronicles this story of how we went from $17.99 to $0.00 in less than a decade. It's a fascinating tale of backward thinking, forward thinking, and the power of music.

About The Author

photograph by Bill Hogan, Chicago Tribune

Greg Kot has been the music critic at the Chicago Tribune since 1990. Kot is co-host of the nationally syndicated public radio program Sound Opinions, and the author of several books, including Wilco: Learning How to Die; and Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music. He lives in Chicago.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner (May 19, 2009)
  • Length: 256 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781439166352

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Raves and Reviews

"A well-researched and highly opinionated history. . . . This book makes for provocative reading, but Kot is above all a music lover and that comes across nomatter which side of the issue you’re on.”

– The Boston Globe

“[Ripped] is the best kind of journalism, even-tempered and provocative, factual and soulful.”

– Christian Science Monitor

“Greg Kot tell us what happened . . . in his well-reported book about music in the Internet Age. . . . Kot understands that it’s always entertaining to detail the thrash and roar of a carnivorous dinosaur in its death throes, as small and clever mammals—in this case, music lovers—win the day.”

– The New York Times Book Review

“Thought-provoking . . . enlightening . . . [a] substantive examination of the chaotic music world.”

– San Francisco Chronicle

“If you’re looking for a big-picture guide to music, and how you interact with it, right-this second, Ripped is a good way to go.”

– Nylon magazine

“Mr. Kot, who writes in an engaging but highly anecdotal style, does a nimble job of showing how the Internet has lifted the careers of particular musicians.”

– Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"Kot is a talented critic."

– Booklist

“Stands out for its sturdily constructed prose and command of up-to-date facts. . . . The book thankfully avoids the technology and industry gossip possibilities inherent in the subject and instead focuses on the sometimes unexpectedly wonderful mutations in the way that musicians and listeners think about popular music.”

– Publishers Weekly

“Clear, concise and entertaining account of the tectonic shift in the recording industry over the past decade . . . Indispensable for anyone who wants to understand popular music in the 21st century.”

– Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A perceptive, unblinking, and up-to-the-minute take on the seismic transformations of the recording industry in the digital age. . . Kot’s breezy, entertaining, journalistic style and sympathetic tone consistently draw in the reader. Essential for all those interested in the intersection of music and technology.”

– Library Journal

“A perceptive, unblinking, and up-to-the-minute take on the seismic transformations of the recording industry in the digital age. . . Kot’s breezy, entertaining, journalistic style and sympathetic tone consistently draw in the reader. Essential for all those interested in the intersection of music and technology.”

– Library Journal

“An interesting book [that] details the sea change that’s choking big music studios and middleman and creating a landscape where smaller bands proliferate and manage to sustain themselves without the backing of music moguls.”

– Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Informative and entertaining."

– Huffingtonpost.com

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    photograph by Bill Hogan, Chicago Tribune
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