How Music Got Free: What happens when an entire generation commits the same crime?

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Random House, Jun 18, 2015 - Music - 304 pages

Meet Dell Glover – the accidental pirate
Meet ‘Kali’ – the mastermind
And meet Karlheinz – the man who made it all possible

How Music Got Free is a blistering story of obsession, music and obscene money. A story of visionaries, criminals and tycoons. It’s about the greatest pirate in history, the most powerful exec in the music business, and an illegal website six times the size of iTunes.

It begins with a small-time thief at a CD-pressing plant, and a groundbreaking invention on the other side of the globe. Then pans from the multi-million-dollar deals of the music industry to the darkest corners of the web; from German audio laboratories to a tiny Polynesian radio station.

This is also the story of the music industry – the rise of rap, the death of the album, and how much can rest on the flip of a coin. How the fate of artists like Kanye West, Jay-Z and 50 Cent were being controlled by a guy no one had ever heard of. How suddenly all the tracks ever recorded could be accessed by anyone, for free. And the industry imploded.

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About the author (2015)

A member of what he calls the ‘pirate generation’, Stephen Witt has been bootlegging music since the mid-1990s. While amassing an archive of hundreds of thousands of pirated mp3s, he became obsessed with the subject of digital piracy, and eventually changed careers to write this thrilling investigative history.

He was born in New Hampshire in 1979, raised in the Midwest and graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in mathematics. He spent the next six years working for hedge funds in Chicago and New York. Following a spell in East Africa working in economic development, he graduated from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2011.

He lives in Brooklyn, New York. How Music Got Free is his first book.

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