How Music Got Free

  • by Stephen Witt
  • Narrated by Stephen Witt
  • 9 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

"What happens when an entire generation commits the same crime?"
How Music Got Free is a riveting story of obsession, music, crime, and money, featuring visionaries and criminals, moguls and tech-savvy teenagers. It's about the greatest pirate in history, the most powerful executive in the music business, a revolutionary invention, and an illegal website four times the size of the iTunes music store.
Journalist Stephen Witt traces the secret history of digital music piracy, from the German audio engineers who invented the mp3 to a North Carolina compact-disc manufacturing plant where factory worker Dell Glover leaked nearly 2,000 albums over the course of a decade to the high-rises of midtown Manhattan where music executive Doug Morris cornered the global market on rap and finally into the darkest recesses of the Internet.
Through these interwoven narratives, Witt has written a thrilling audiobook that depicts the moment in history when ordinary life became forever entwined with the world online - when suddenly all the music ever recorded was available for free. In the pause-resisting tradition of writers like Michael Lewis and Lawrence Wright, Witt's deeply reported first book introduces the unforgettable characters - inventors, executives, factory workers, and smugglers - who revolutionized an entire art form and reveals for the first time the secret underworld of media pirates that transformed our digital lives.
An irresistible, never-before-told story of greed, cunning, genius, and deceit, How Music Got Free isn't just a story of the music industry - it's a must-listen history of the Internet itself.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A history of the MP3 and Online Music

A well researched book that stays objective. I was worried this would be one of those books that only looks at the subject from one point of view, but Mr. Witt tells both sides here.

The book focuses on a few of the major players to tell the story. There's the cooperate side, the pirates, and then there's the men that created the means for one to devastate the other...the MP3.

The whole thing is told in plain enough speak for anyone to understand, no need to be a geek to follow along.

Read by the author, and he does OK narrating his own work.
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- Pezzilla "I likee do tha Cha-Cha..."

Compelling Story about Technology and the Recording Industry

This book interleaves the technology, the business "machine," the intellectual property issues, and the illegal downloading so seamlessly that you don't want to stop listening. You'll come away understanding how digital compression works so well. From the first chapter you will want to find out more about the main actors; the story unfolds like a good detective novel. You'll learn about how the music industry has evolved over several decades. I liked the irony.
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- Sara Graffunder

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-16-2015
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio