Library Journal calls my book "a highly entertaining, no-holds-barred account of the 30-year saga of digital recording." Thanks, Larry Lipkis of Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa.!
In case y'all have forgotten, the book comes out Jan. 6 -- and I'll be signing at Denver's Tattered Cover (Colfax Avenue store, next to Twist & Shout) that night at 7:30 p.m. The Boulder Bookstore signing is Jan. 8 at 7:30 p.m. Hope you can make it. I'll bring cookies. If I remember.
The recording industry's lawsuit campaign against illegal music file-sharers officially ended last week. In my piece for rollingstone.com -- it was too late for the actual print magazine, which is taking its annual two-week break and doesn't come out until Jan. 9 -- a major-label source says, "Everybody realized this was making us the most hated industry since the tobacco industry."
Yep. In Appetite for Self-Destruction, I make the lawsuits one of several "Big Music's Big Mistakes." It's important to educate consumers that pirating copyrighted music off Kazaa or BitTorrent is illegal. But making consumers hate your guts is bad business in the long run. I'm convinced that part of the reason Netflix was able to get so popular so quickly -- in addition to its awesome business model -- is that customers hated Blockbuster for charging the late fees.
Hits magazine columnist Roy says some excellent things in a review (see #4 in the link; oh, and you have to register by clicking on the crazy devil head that turns into a dead sheep):
-- "Knopper expertly recounts the grim tale of an error-filled era of self-immolation"
-- ". . . assembled as a linear narrative, it makes for an astounding tale of an industry’s steady, inevitable decline"
-- " . . . Knopper’s tome, which will be published in January, immediately takes its place as a sequel to the previous best books written about the record industry, Fredric Dannen’s classic Hit Men and Fred Goodman’s Mansion on the Hill."
Those of you who haven't read Hit Men or Mansion on the Hill should check them out immediately. The former is about the shady means record labels used to push singles onto radio playlists, using an allegedly Mob-connected group of "indie promoters" known as The Network. The latter is about how grassroots '60s musical movements, as well as talents such as Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, transformed over time into moneymaking machines.
I just realized my Boulder Bookstore signing is the same night as the college football championship: January 8. (Personally, I stopped paying attention this year as soon as Michigan lost to Toledo.) I will get to work on asking the store to install a widescreen TV behind my head.
This is a blog about my upcoming book,Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age, due January 6, 2009, from Free Press/Simon & Schuster. It's a narrative, with a lot of stories about people, pop stars, high-tech inventors and big-time record executives, beginning with the adoption of the CD in the early '80s. Then it progresses through Napster and iTunes through the recent era of plunging sales and record-label layoffs.
I'll post here about upcoming events and media appearances and maybe some general stuff about the record business. (Guns N' Roses sales, anybody?) Jill the Publicist has been setting up a bunch of radio and television stuff in early January. If you need a review copy, she's your person.
For now, here are two upcoming book signings near my home in Denver, Colorado:
I'm a Rolling Stone contributing editor who has covered the music business for more than a decade. I also write regularly for Wired, The Washington Post and Newsday, and have been published in such publications as SPIN, Details, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire and New York. Previous books include Moon Colorado (new version due in June 2009!) and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting a Band (co-written with manager extraordinaire Mark Bliesener). For more information, check out www.knopps.com.