How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Stephen Witt

Narrated By: Stephen Witt

Publisher: Penguin Audio

Date: June 2015

Duration: 9 hours 13 minutes


'What happens when an entire generation commits the same crime?'

How Music Got Free is a riveting story of obsession, music, crime, and money, featuring visionaries and criminals, moguls and tech-savvy teenagers. It’s about the greatest pirate in history, the most powerful executive in the music business, a revolutionary invention and an illegal website four times the size of the iTunes Music Store.

Journalist Stephen Witt traces the secret history of digital music piracy, from the German audio engineers who invented the mp3, to a North Carolina compact-disc manufacturing plant where factory worker Dell Glover leaked nearly two thousand albums over the course of a decade, to the high-rises of midtown Manhattan where music executive Doug Morris cornered the global market on rap, and, finally, into the darkest recesses of the Internet.

Through these interwoven narratives, Witt has written a thrilling book that depicts the moment in history when ordinary life became forever entwined with the world online — when, suddenly, all the music ever recorded was available for free. In the page-turning tradition of writers like Michael Lewis and Lawrence Wright, Witt’s deeply-reported first book introduces the unforgettable characters—inventors, executives, factory workers, and smugglers—who revolutionized an entire artform, and reveals for the first time the secret underworld of media pirates that transformed our digital lives.

An irresistible never-before-told story of greed, cunning, genius, and deceit, How Music Got Free isn’t just a story of the music industry—it’s a must-read history of the Internet itself.


  • Daniel G

    Well done like HBO's "The Defiant Ones' and like the movie "Seabiscuit"! Stephen Witt doe's a wonderful job of guiding the reader/listener through some of the wildest times the music industry has to offer. He bounces in, out and then back to the varied intersecting story lines with perfect timing. Perfect timing that delivers maximum intrigue and anticipation. I believe the book will be turned into a movie, mini-series or documentory. Wonderfully narrated.

  • Justin Rice

    For anyone who finds themselves interested in computers, the dark net or music lovers, this is a great read. Witt's deep knowledge of the characters story makes it easy to follow along and his breakdown of technical concepts are through and easy to comprehend.

How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy

by Stephen Witt

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How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy, Stephen Witt