Greg Kot Interview: The Sound of Young America

Greg Kot

Greg Kot is the music critic at the Chicago Tribune, host of the public radio program Sound Opinions, and has written for the likes of Rolling Stone, Details, Blender, and Encyclopaedia Britannica among others. His new book is Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music. We'll talk about how the music industry got to where it is today, and what might be next.


free downloads

Now I will download your commentary for free. Others will follow suit. Then we will have no Chicago Tribune, no NPR, etc and then you will be able to post your opinions for free--while pumping Lattes at Starbucks---or worse.
When someone works hard to create something of value and then sees it disappear without recompense it is called theft--digital realm or not.
The cat is out of the bag. IT IS NOT GOOD. We have supplanted something evil _the music business- with something much worse . Greed and avarice as a normal and excepted way of being.The idiot hippies have won--everything is free--man! Steal this book.
Enjoy your free preview CDs while you you may.
Enjoy your position and cultural stature while you may ( put Robert Christgau on speed dial ).
Who will need a gatekeeper when there are no gates.

...but something didn't disappear

..but.. something didn't disappear. In fact, the opposite happens--there's MORE of it.

Every time someone downloads, there's another copy of that content. More importantly, people are quite willing to pay for good content and all the merchandising and events built around good content. THAT'S free market. The idea that monopoly and an industry built around an association can control all or most content and force content that isn't good to still be the only content that exists is patently anti-capitalist and quite fascist. Are you complaining that the record companies are quickly becoming broke? If so, how? Where are all their money being spent? Could it be better spent if they made customers their priority despite the infringing copying (it's still not theft--but it is copyright infringement unless it falls under fair-use for any reason).

Pure Rubbish

Bullshit Bullshit Bullshit. I can not tell you how sick and tired I am of all you 'tech' bloggers and journalist justifying piracy. Piracy didn't happen because of the record labels. PIRACY HAPPENED BECAUSE PEOPLE WANT THINGS FOR FREE. That is the end all be all. It cost to make music, both time and money. You stealing it does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to even the field or recoup that cost.
The music industry caused piracy? Really, that is your response? That is rubish if I have ever heard it. Everyone has these opinions, because it does not affect them directly. If someone came to your job stealing your completed work and thus subtracting from your income, the trumpets of piracy would quickly be put away.
If you can't get quality music on the radio, don't listen to the radio. Quality music is not a right? Look for it. Go find it. Muck through actual record shops and get off of your lazy ass. Regardless of how much money an artist makes from record sells, stealing their music through piracy affords them even less in royalties.
People act as if piracy and the digital age has leveled the bar. Nothing could be further form the truth. The primary songs that are d/l through piracy, are the "shitty" songs you claim you don't like. The same songs that are on the radio EVERY 5 minutes. Instead of leveling the field, it has 'FORCED' artist to give away music that they have spent their time and money creating. So where is the benefit these "people in the know" claim. Yeah your songs are now "available" but without adequate public relations money or relationships, you might as well have flushed it down the toilet.
Yes there are exceptions to the rule, but those are few and far between. Even those that do make a difference, at some point are forced to get help form an outside source. Fans are too fickle these days.
Truth of the matter is that piracy hurts no one more than the artist. Labels are still making money and will continue to as they control the music. In fact, artist have it even harder now if they get a record deal because labels now want a piece of everything to combat the revenue they loose to the digital revolution it's easier to steal something if I never really have to physically touch it revolution. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
The PR about the digital future is exactly that, PR. Don't confuse the hype.

What the heck?...

"You stealing it does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to even the field or recoup that cost."
I've spent like 200 dollars on cds and mp3's in the past year, with like 20 dollars going to mainstream bands. In other words, the internet leveled the playing field.

Go check out the Daily Show story about Robyn, Sweden's biggest pop star, to get an idea of how silly the America got about music. What's wrong with being a musician and living a middle class life?

You mad?

You mad?

over your head

So at least two people completely missed the point that Greg Kot was actually making.

The man never said piracy was a good thing, he said piracy (and the technology used therein) was an inevitability. Something the record industry foolishly refused to acknowledge.

The point he was making was that, in their mad hustle to make as much money for as little product as possible, the record industry ignored consumer demands and expanding technology. Again, Greg Kot did not condone piracy.

What he was saying was that the blind folly of the record industry influenced mass piracy rather than stem it in their fight against the actual progress of music distribution methods. And also the fact that their fight is erroneously waged against individual consumers--to recoup money for themselves (as artists make very little from record sales)--rather than to adjust to the wants of the consumer and the needs of the actual artists to have their music widely distributed and their work fairly compensated (by the record industry itself).

Over My head

Right. Because if I make something that you don't like, the best way to get me back is to steal it.

still is

Again, you miss the point. You focus too much on the actual act of piracy and not at all on the concept behind how it works, why it came about, and what that shift means--which is the important part of the discussion. And again, it's part that the record industry is only now starting to acknowledge.

It's not just about FREE

You are missing the point of regarding the consequence of the industry chasing the lowest-common denominator of music choice. If the push is ONLY for the bubblegum pop, the fat head of the long tail, and there is no venue for the other genres, the customer will find another source for the music they want.
Yes, in a sense the music industry did cause piracy. On top of that, there was an opportunity for the industry to own Napster but refused to change. Now look who controls their business, Walmart and iTunes! The Mainstream and the Hipsters...with nothing for the inbetween.
You are absolutely right, stop listening to the radio, but go to a record shop!?! Progress doesn't go backward no matter how much you wish it. The music industry ignored the digital shift to their (meaning yours) detriment. Learn to live with the consequences otherwise you are just a nostalgic act, you know, the "Temptations" w/o the Temptations.
The online music world is now just promotion for where artists can directly make money, live acts. And, if the musician can do it without the labels, so much the better. Go back to ye record store and listen to your LPs, I rather have the world at my fingertips, listening to what I want, when I want, where I want it.

Because this is what music is about

I completely agree with you. The music INDUSTRY is what prompted there to be piracy, the anti-piracy arguments are mostly ridiculous, because they miss the point that the music industry became, for all purposes, anti-capitalist when they made it so consumers are limited to what the big labels/corporations want you to hear, and in turn you put money in their pocket from a lack of choice, and it restricted artists from getting their music out to people, because top 40 radio only plays what the big labels pay them to play. It's our right as consumers and artists to be able to have free choice of what we hear musically and for the artists to be able to establish a fan base without having large amounts of money backing them.

And after all that, anti-"piracy" supporters miss the point of what music is really about...which is about self-expression, sending a message, educating others about how and where you live, etc.
It's not about money, it's about creating art and sharing it with the world. I'm a hip hop artist and lead vocalist for my band, I understand we have to make money to survive, but who says that if you make music you can't/shouldn't do anything else to make a living?

It's the truth, most artists don't make shit off of their recordings, it's the live shows that bring the money to the artists. That's why recorded material should be seen as a way to draw people in to see you live, not as a means of making money, because it seems that they don't acknowledge that thanks to the internet, labels don't even have to spend much money to make a physical product, because you can have unlimited copies of material online and for little to no cost, which in turn increases the profits of the little people, who otherwise couldnt afford to supply as many people with copies of their albums.

So stop complaining about piracy and start appreciating what it does for the actual music. Learn t adapt you damn cavemen lol.

Thanks for having Greg on!

Sound Opinions is awesome and anybody reading this should definitely subscribe.