"Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age"
By Steve Knopper
Reviewed By Erik Himmelsbach
Few industries inspire more enmity than the record business. It's been tainted since the birth of rock, with transgressions that include payola, greed, a reactionary aversion to technology and a plantation mentality toward its bread and butter -- the recording artists.
Thanks to the Internet and the MP3 revolution, karmic justice has finally been served: The record industry has toppled like a house of cards. To many, its collapse is less a crisis than a beautiful sunset.
Yet as Steve Knopper notes in "Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age," this was a business hellbent on destroying itself for at least 30 years. Digital music was merely the final dagger in its heart.
Knopper, a Rolling Stone music business writer, thoughtfully reports on the record racket's slow, painful march into financial ruin and irrelevance, starting with the near-catastrophic sales slump that began in 1979 after the demise of disco. Though the labels persevered, they finally lost control of their product when they chose to ignore the possibilities of the Internet.
Now, it's consumers and recording artists who have the power. Musicians can create, produce and distribute their work without the indentured servitude of record labels.
That's great news for younger artists, but even geezers like the Eagles and Paul McCartney have taken advantage of the new technology.
To read the entire review by Erik Himmelsbach, please click here.
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