I Read a Book: Greg Kot’s Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music

Greg Kot’s Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music is a must-read for those interested in how economics combined with listener actions have led the traditional music industry to its present morass. And therefore, the subtitle should be: How the music industry decided short-term profits were more important than life-long fans.

While I prefer a more linear style, the book is written in chapters focusing mostly on one artist or group per chapter — which makes sense, considering this is a work of music journalism. I appreciate that Kot, a non-lawyer, explains the law and cases correctly (yet with the dismayed “this is really the law?!?” tone needed). And while not using the terminology of one thousand true fans, he explores what having dedicated fans means for bands now — versus under the old regime.

But there are some seriously odd moments while reading as a fan. I’m not really sure why when describing the backstory of Metallica, Dave is mentioned, but there is literally no mention of Kirk! (Or Cliff. Or Jason.) But I’m digressing…

I expect a certain degree of errors in any work, but please, dude, know your halos! Any NIN fan knows that Broken counts. Especially when writing about T.R.’s dealings with record companies.

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TLF at New Music Seminar: Chicago

I was lucky enough to score a guest invitation to the New Music Seminar thanks to social media goddess Leah Jones of Natiiv Arts and Media. Being a semi-professional fangirl/full – on professional social media person I was curious to go to this event, knowing the upheaval that the music industry is in the midst of, it’s very similar to what the news industry has gone through.

Similarly, the music industry didn’t seem to take notice – or action – in terms of acknowledging the power of the Internet and the impact of user’s online behavior (not just downloading, but fan activity/word of month) until it was too late.

Either way, the influence of the internet was all over the New Music Seminar, and it was interesting to see Wired editorKevin Kelly’s 1000 true fans theory from a couple of years ago refined and held up as a potential industry model by none other than Tom Silverman of Tommy Boy Records. Over at TLF, we’ve been extolling the virtues of the 1000 True Fans theory for awhile now, so to see music execs really taking notice and talking seriously about the potential of these ideas for the music community at large was heartening.

Not to fangirl over SXSW again, but I still can’t help but think the discussions being had at NMS were still a couple of years behind what was going on at SXSW this past spring. Just the fact that the discussion still seem to focus on the dying breed of “pop stars” the Kanye Wests, Green Days and Lady GaGa’s of the industry rather than on genre and niche-oriented artists said a lot to me about how where the music community is and isn’t. (Stop trying to make mega stars! Haven’t ya’ll read The Long Tail?)

Interestingly, in the middle of all of the discussion and debate, I spent a good chunk of my day on Twitter eagerly waiting for information on a limited vinyl release from a metal band with about less than 700 followers on Twitter, proving the point of panelists Ariel Hyatt and Corey Denis completely.

Still, there were great indications that the industry gets it, for most part. MC Chris and Mountain Goats both got shout – outs, which was a nice change from there usual NIN/Radiohead talk. (Can’t believe that I of all people said that.) Generally, a lot of the enthusiasm and embrace of entrepreneurship and innovation that I see lacking at a lot of the news-oriented conference I go to, I saw here. People see opportunities in the music industry, which is awesome – and makes me want to join them…