Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Stephen Witt: How Music Got Free

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I finished "How Music Got Free" weeks ago and it has since been sitting here waiting for the book report, collecting fees. Stephen Witt has written a very easy-to-read, interesting, doesn't-matter-which-side-you're-on book on the history of the mp3. And the history covers both the technical side of the file type as well as why we all use the mp3 now to listen to music (and actually, why we pretty soon will be using some other format, if we're not already- note: some of you who stream media more than I do already are). The book is both timely and time-sensitive. The book opens with the heralded death of the mp3 in 1995- we all know that didn't happen- but by the end of the book when record execs were figuring out that YouTube and Vimeo were one way forward, the question is already here: what will streaming technologies like Spotify and Pandora do to iTunes and the purchase of mp3s? If record execs realized how to monetize Vimeo and Steve Jobs figured out how to sell mp3s all in the span of the 20 years between mp3s being dead then alive then THE media, how quickly will some entirely new model take over? "How Music Got Free" is a cool look at this story with implications for what's next. A fun read for people with interests in any part of this story- technology, music, copyright, etc.