I’ve recently finished reading “How Music Got Free” by Stephen Witt. It’s a tale that starts with the creation of the mp3 and ends with the forever-changed music industry. It’s also one of the most interesting, informative, and enjoyable stories I’ve read in quite some time. While this is a nonfiction book, Witt does an amazing job telling the intertwining story akin to a well-written drama. From high-level music executives to up and coming producers to the average citizen discovering the new world of the Internet, this book has it all.
I’ve been recommending this book left and right with the consistent message that this book has as much to do with the cultural happenings during the turn of the century, as it is a book on music piracy. Most of us know about the story of Napster but there is SO much more to the rise of digital music than the anecdotal tale of a lone techie who created a piece of software allowing people to share music. In reality, the rise of Napster is just a piece of a much larger puzzle, which Witt brilliantly weaves together.
I learned so much from this book at the same time that I was being entertained with the story. A story, by the way, which many of us already know the ending to before we even crack the book open. That’s the magic of what Witt has done with his debut book.