Discs and Rewards

Record company executives’ dislike of change is nothing new, as Denver-based author Steve Knopper discovered while researching Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age, a new book he’ll discuss and sign tonight and Thursday. In the early ’80s, when manufacturers tried to convince labels to adapt CDs, “most of the moguls opposed it fiercely,” Knopper notes. At one meeting, for instance, A&M Records co-founder Jerry Moss “screamed about how this was the perfect device for piracy.” Eventually, the bosses capitulated and added immeasurably to their wealth — so much so that when underlings suggested Internet-related strategy adjustments, they largely ignored them. “There were a few people saying, ‘We have to change our business model. This is coming down the pike,’” Knopper notes. “And the Tommy Mottolas of the world were like, ‘Yeah, yeah,’ and went back to filling out their expense reports.”

Such big-wheels have less money to track now, and Knopper doesn’t see that situation changing anytime soon. “That ship has sailed,” he declares. “But I don’t think these companies are going to completely go away. Some version of them will survive.”

And no doubt resist the next big change that comes along.

Knopper will satisfy your Appetite tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Tattered Cover, 2526 East Colfax Avenue, and at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 8, at the Boulder Book Store, 1107 Pearl Street in Boulder. Both events are free. For more information about the first gathering, phone 303-322-7727 or surf to www.tatteredcover.com. Get details on the second at www.boulderbookstore.com or 303-447-2074.
Mon., Jan. 19, 7:30 p.m., 2009

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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