Synopses & Reviews
For the first time, Appetite for Self-Destruction recounts the epic story of the precipitous rise and fall of the modern recording industry, from an author who has been writing about it for more than ten years. With unparalleled access to those intimately involved in the music worlds highs and lowsincluding Warner Music chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr., renegade Napster creator Shawn Fanning, and more than 200 othersSteve Knopper is the first to offer such a detailed and sweeping contemporary history of the industrys wild ride through the past three decades. From the birth of the compact disc, the explosion of CD sales, and the emergence of MP3-sharing websites that led to iTunes, to the current collapse of the industry as CD sales plummet, Knopper takes us inside the boardrooms, recording studios, private estates, garage computer labs, company jets, corporate infighting, and secret deals of the big names and behind-the-scenes players who made it all happen. Just as the incredible success of the CD turned the music business into one of the most glamorous, high-profile industries in the world, the advent of file sharing brought it to its knees, and Knopper saw it all.
[A] stark accounting of the mistakes major record labels have made since the end of the LP era and the arrival of digital music . . . A wide-angled, morally complicated view of the current state of the music business . . . [Knopper] suggests that with even a little foresight, record companies could have adapted to the Internets brutish and quizzical new realities and thrived . . . He paints a devastating picture of the industrys fumbling, corruption, greed and bad faith over the decades.” The New York Times
Knopper, a Rolling Stone music business writer, thoughtfully reports on the record rackets slow, painful march into financial ruin and irrelevance, starting with the near-catastrophic sales slump that began in 1979 after the demise of disco. Though the labels persevered, they finally lost control of their product when they chose to ignore the possibilities of the Internet . . . Knopper piles on examples of incompetence, making a convincing case that the industrys collapse is a drawn-out suicide.” The Los Angeles Times
[Knopper has a] nose for the storys human element . . . The best parts of the book, such as Knoppers analysis of the late-90s teen-pop bubble (and how it ultimately burst), move with the style and drama of a great legal thrillerthink Michael Clayton with headphones . . . This is gripping stuff. Crank it up.” Time Out New York
The music industry is toast, my friends. And congrats to Rolling Stone vet Steve Knopper, whose fantastic new book Appetite for Self-Destruction explains why.” Village Voice
Laced with anecdote, buttressed by detailed accounts of the most flagrant record-industry transgressions, Appetite (its title nicked from that of the Guns N Roses debut disc) is an enthralling read, equal parts anger and regret. Knoppers writing is sharp, his approach sharper.” Boston Globe
The music industry's mighty players have been asleep at the wheel since Napster revolutionized the way music was distributed in the 1990s. A veteran industry reporter tells of the current state of big music, how it got into such dire straits, and where it's going.