Book review: Stephen Witt: How Music Got Free (2015, 2016).

This purports to be the story of the last twenty years of the record industry, told by one of the kids who collected MP3s in his college dorm just before Napster. It isn’t the story of the MP3 revolution, but it is some stories, only one of which is seriously important to the claim in the title. But the details mostly aren’t wrong.

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False memories of feelings past.

Front Line Assembly “Mindphaser” just came up on Spotify. I first heard it in 1993 or 1994, in the front room of 20 Stuart Street in Perth. The “cyberpunk house” as it was known. I think I was hungover and possibly still drunk from the night before. Certainly everyone else was.

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So let’s give this Spotify thing a go.

I tried Last.fm around 2009 when I was applying for a job with them. The computer-generated personal radio station thing is amusing in its way. I can’t see myself wandering around with my phone using up my data plan on streaming music; it’ll be strictly a desktop, or rather laptop, thing.

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My problematic favourite: William S. Burroughs.

I admire old Bill for all sorts of things, none of which are his personality, murdering his wife, fucking up his son or misogyny so jawdropping he literally made it into an artform. I wonder what signifiers wearing a Burroughs shirt would have in 2016 as opposed to 1996 (“yeah yeah you’re hip go away”) or 1986 (“who?”).

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