Greg Kot talking about "Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized music"

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Presentation in San Francisco, CA, USA


Friday, October 16 at 7:30 pm

The Booksmith
1644 Haight Street in San Francisco, between Clayton & Cole


Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music

In the mid-nineties, advances in internet and digital technology made it incredibly easy to store, play and – most significantly – “rip” and share recorded music. But for all the benefits these new mediums brought, the music industry -- which included major corporations such as Viacom, Clear Channel, and Sony -- wasn’t prepared for this big change. Instead of finding innovative ways to utilize this new technology, they wasted time, their reputation, and resources in court crippling themselves while online music sharing continued to thrive.

Greg Kot is the Chicago Tribune’s acclaimed music critic and national radio show host of Sound Opinions (“the world’s only rock ‘n’ roll talk show”). He is well-known as a fans’ music critic who writes entertainingly about the intersection of music, technology, and business. In Ripped, Kot details how the new digital technology was bad news for major record executives and mega-selling recording artists who were capitalizing off significantly over-priced CDs, but how it was good news for fans of music and for independent promoters and artists who were struggling to be heard in the era of *NSYNC and Britney Spears. The music business was bloated, making more money than ever before, but many of its consumers felt like they weren't being served. Old school practices like payola combined with the consolidation of record companies and radio stations left the industry blissfully unaware and poised for disaster. Kot explains that the emergence of Napster was only the beginning of the fans taking control. As the web popularized bands and albums that previously would have been relegated to obscurity, forward-thinking artists such as Death Cab for Cutie and even Prince began creating alternative ways of getting their music out to fans. Kot says that “the internet provided bands an independence they never had: the ability to communicate directly with their fans in ways their predecessors never could have imagined.” Genre-bending and mash-ups caught on as never before, live music took on a more significant role and video games and commercials emerged as great places to hear new music.

Ripped is Kot’s masterful and passionate chronicle of how we went from $17.99 to $0.00 for the cost of an album in less than a decade. With first-hand access to some of the biggest artists out there – from Sheryl Crow to Metallica -- Kot tells the tale of backward thinking, forward thinking, and the significant power of music.

We’re delighted that KALW-FM is co-sponsoring, with support from Creative Commons, this evening’s talk and discussion!