Appetite for Self-Destruction

Appetite for Self-DestructionThe book, Appetite For Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash Of The Record Industry In The Digital Age, is one that people will be talking about a lot in the coming months. In it, author Steve Knopper lays out his theory of what happened to the music industry to make it fall from such great heights to such great lows.  It would be hard to argue with the basic premise that underlies Self-Destruction.  Many people already feel that the recording industry proved itself incompetent and behind the times (and maybe somewhat manic) in their response to the Internet and most pointedly, peer-to-peer services.  But Appetite still reeks of a book idea that someone was a little too eager to put out into the world, be it Knopper or his publishers.  The industry has been changing so quickly that Appetite was in danger of sounding dated before it came out, and self-consciously repeats phrases like “at the time of this writing…”.

Appetite certainly does a good job painting portraits of the colorful characters who have ‘guided’ the music industry over the last several decades, portraits that prove to be one of Appetite‘s biggest charms and its biggest let downs.  Knopper seems to rely a little too much on his unusual access to these record industry big-wigs, and, while interesting, often times seems more than a healthy dose of filler.

All in all, I think that Appetite for Self-Destruction is an important book.  It attacks the record industry while also maintaining an objective gaze on what brought it to its current state.  Music fans the world over are wondering why in hell the major labels are putting out such terrible drivel on a regular basis, and what happened to make all of it happen.  Appetite gives these music lovers a good starting place in trying to put the pieces together.

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