Appetite for Self-destruction

Appetite for Self-destruction

The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age

Book - 2009
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For the first time, Appetite for Self-Destruction recounts the epic story of the precipitous rise and fall of the recording industry over the past three decades, when the incredible success of the CD turned the music business into one of the most glamorous, high-profile industries in the world--and the advent of file sharing brought it to its knees.

In a comprehensive, fast-paced account full of larger-than-life personalities, Rolling Stone contributing editor Steve Knopper shows that, after the incredible wealth and excess of the '80s and '90s, Sony, Warner, and the other big players brought about their own downfall through years of denial and bad decisions in the face of dramatic advances in technology.

Big Music has been asleep at the wheel ever since Napster revolutionized the way music was distributed in the 1990s. Now, because powerful people like Doug Morris and Tommy Mottola failed to recognize the incredible potential of file-sharing technology, the labels are in danger of becoming completely obsolete. Knopper, who has been writing about the industry for more than ten years, has unparalleled access to those intimately involved in the music world's highs and lows. Based on interviews with more than two hundred music industry sources--from Warner Music chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr. to renegade Napster creator Shawn Fanning--Knopper is the first to offer such a detailed and sweeping contemporary history of the industry's wild ride through the past three decades. From the birth of the compact disc, through the explosion of CD sales in the '80s and '90s, the emergence of Napster, and the secret talks that led to iTunes, to the current collapse of the industry as CD sales plummet, Knopper takes us inside the boardrooms, recording studios, private estates, garage computer labs, company jets, corporate infighting, and secret deals of the big names and behind-the-scenes players who made it all happen.

With unforgettable portraits of the music world's mighty and formerly mighty; detailed accounts of both brilliant and stupid ideas brought to fruition or left on the cutting-room floor; the dish on backroom schemes, negotiations, and brawls; and several previously unreported stories, Appetite for Self-Destruction is a riveting, informative, and highly entertaining read. It offers a broad perspective on the current state of Big Music, how it got into these dire straits, and where it's going from here--and a cautionary tale for the digital age.
Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Free Press, c2009
Edition: 1st Free Press hardcover ed
ISBN: 9781416552154
Branch Call Number: ANF 384 KNO
Characteristics: xvi, 301 p. ; 24 cm


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May 02, 2018

"This industry is like George W. Bush getting elected to a third term," aptly remarked the president of the indie label TVT Records in 2008. 'Appetite For Self-Destruction' chronicles that infamous business from multiple points of view while concentrating on the higher-ups and middle-manager types, the book going through the 1979 to 2009 period with both boom and bust moments illuminated. Author Steve Knopper's prose pulls no punches and calls out multiple individuals for their horrible lack of foresight.

Ironically enough, lower-level executives frequently see the writing on the wall and call for changes such as the widespread return of cheap EPs and singles on CD, yet they get constantly ignored. All sorts of technological innovations from the decline of vinyl records to the proliferation of the MP3 face boneheaded ignorance by the music industry at large. While they end up spending years and years making money hand-over-fist, the companies pursue policies such as aggressive litigation and continued payola that soon haunt them dearly. As a companion to the equally excellent book 'How Music Got Free', which focuses on somewhat different sides of the same subject, Knopper's work fascinatingly details what all went wrong.

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