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Summary of Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music:

"Ripped" presents the first definitive account of the digital music revolution, which changed the way music fans have sought and acquired music and led to the end of the recording industry as we know it. In the mid-1990s, advances in Internet and digital technology made it easy for fans to store, play, and share music, and leveled the playing field between better-marketed major-label bands and smaller independent artists who communicated directly with their audience. Instead of embracing these new possibilities, the music industry turned their customers into criminals with lawsuits, even as on-line music sharing exploded. With firsthand access to artists such as Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, Metallica, Death Cab for Cutie and Arcade Fire, "Ripped" chronicles the industry’s decline and the rise of a worldwide grassroots community that transformed music.

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Reviews: "One of the top 10 music books of all time." "A startlingly readable exploration of technology's often-uncomfortable marriage with music, Ripped delves the recent digital revolution from the perspective of artists, music labels (big and small), and casual music consumers. Through anecdotes and fictionesque narration, Kot addresses both the conventional and non-conventional methods all three parties have used to advance their (increasingly competing) agendas.Whether exploring the fan revolution behind Death Cab for Cutie's rise or the curious case of Napster's illegal evolution, the book masterfully captures the industry's madness as it struggles to adapt to new technologies." 5 out of 5 stars " ‘Ripped’ serves as the best compendium to date of the keystones of the disruptive culture embraced by the alternative music community. A serious must-read for anyone who makes their living in recorded music today."

Harry Allen, hip-hop activist and Public Enemy "media assassin": "Ripped" is a book "you must own in order to conquer the modern music business."

Washington Post: In "Ripped," the longtime Chicago Tribune music critic assembles profiles of recent alt-rock causes celebres like Arcade Fire, Girl Talk and Conor Oberst, whose successes were largely sparked online, via filesharing, iTunes and tastemakers like Pitchfork. ... Kot's instincts are on-point: His skepticism about the corporate record industry is inspired by recent events, and there are decades of bad behavior to back him up.

New York Times Sunday Book Review: A "well-reported book about music in the Internet Age. ... Kot understands that it’s always entertaining to detail the thrash and roar of a carnivorous dinosaur in its death throes, as small and clever mammals — in this case, music lovers — win the day."

David Thigpen, former Time music writer, in Chicago Tribune: Kot's insider access and the chops honed as a music critic give this book a richness that makes it an indispensable survey of the turbulent turn-of-the-century music scene. Ironically, with the digital revolution also putting newspapers on notice, it's unlikely the "wired" generation of legions of bedroom bloggers and earnest but unprofessional amateurs will soon produce a writer with the broad perspective and access it took to achieve this book.

Boston Globe: "Kot ... provides a well-researched and highly opinionated history of how the formerly all-powerful record and radio conglomerates succumbed to a grass-roots movement to bring music to the people for free. ... The book makes for provocative reading, but Kot is above all a music lover and that comes across no matter which side of the issue you’re on."

Huffington Post: "Kot knows his stuff. His book is never better than when it is in the music. But Ripped is about what is happening to music, and Kot stands with the T shirts and not the suits."

Rolling Stone: "Kot delves deep into the way online piracy affects artists in 'Ripped' -- and traces the responses of Internet-friendly acts like Radiohead and NIN."'

San Francisco Chronicle: "Kot's years of chronicling the rock world have given him a well-tuned eye for its machinations, which inform this substantive examination of the chaotic music world."

Flavorpill: In his Tribune rock column, and as half of Sound Opinions, Greg Kot has always avoided the standard-issue chin-stroking that weighs down most industry talk. Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music dissects the implications of file-sharing, media deregulation, and the ever-changing models of music consumption and distribution in a broader, historical context.

New York Times: Mr. Kot, who writes in an engaging but highly anecdotal style, does a nimble job of showing how the Internet has lifted the careers of particular musicians.

Express Milwaukee: Ripped offers a readable and largely non-hyperbolic account of the ways the Internet has revolutionized how musicians connect with their public.

Christian Science Monitor: "Through illuminating interviews with music’s movers and shakers, Kot details the way the entire pop milieu is evolving, with new ways of making, distributing, and profiting from music. ... "Ripped" [is]... the best kind of journalism, even-tempered and provocative, factual and soulful."

Kirkus Reviews: Clear, concise and entertaining account of the tectonic shift in the recording industry .... Indispensable for anyone who wants to understand popular music in the 21st Century.

Publishers Weekly, March 9, 2009:
In what has become a growing field, Kot's account of the music industry's massive struggles and glimmers of success in the digital age stands out for its sturdily constructed prose and command of up-to-date facts. The narrative moves chronologically from the late 1990s to the late 200s, pivoting deftly from such subjects as the havoc deregulation wreaked on mainstream radio, the recording industry's attempted shock and awe-style crackdown on downloading and the recent pay-what-you-want online selling model pioneered by Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails. One of Kot's great strengths is that he is an able and passionate chronicler of the independent labels, musicians and critics whose rise in influence has been the definite upside of the old power structure's collapse. Kot gives us the first essential, critical account of the ever-expanding reach of the indie music Web site Pitchfork Media, a well informed analysis of the history and recent hyperdevelopment of sample-based music and self-contained portraits of new model artists such as Arcade Fire and Bright Eyes. The book thankfully avoids the technology and industry gossip possibilities inherent in the subject and instead focuses on the sometimes unexpectedly wonderful mutations in the way that musicians and listeners think about popular music.

Library Journal: Kot ... offers a perceptive, unblinking, and up-to-the-minute take on the seismic transformations of the recording industry in the digital age. ... His breezy, entertaining, journalistic style and sympathetic tone consistently draw in the reader. Essential for all those interested in the intersection of music and technology.

Booklist: "... the best summary of the huge recent changes in the business of pop to date."

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Chicago, IL
Saturday, January 16th: 2:00 PM
Revolution Books
1103 N. Ashland
Chicago, IL

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