A stinging polemic that traces the destructive monopolization of the Internet by Google, Facebook and Amazon, and that proposes a new future for musicians, journalists, authors and filmmakers in the digital age.
Move Fast and Break Things is the riveting account of a small group of libertarian entrepreneurs who in the 1990s began to hijack the original decentralized vision of the Internet, in the process creating three monopoly firms Facebook, Amazon, and Google that now determine the future of the music, film, television, publishing and news industries.
Jonathan Taplin offers a succinct and powerful history of how online life began to be shaped around the values of the men who founded these companies, including Peter Thiel and Larry Page: overlooking piracy of books, music, and film while hiding behind opaque business practices and subordinating the privacy of individual users in order to create the surveillance-marketing monoculture in which we now live.
The enormous profits that have come with this concentration of power tell their own story. Since 2001, newspaper and music revenues have fallen by 70 percent; book publishing, film, and television profits have also fallen dramatically. Revenues at Google in this same period grew from $400 million to $74.5 billion. Today, Google's YouTube controls 60 percent of all streaming-audio business but pay for only 11 percent of the total streaming-audio revenues artists receive. More creative content is being consumed than ever before, but less revenue is flowing to the creators and owners of that content.
The stakes here go far beyond the livelihood of any one musician or journalist. As Taplin observes, the fact that more and more Americans receive their news, as well as music and other forms of entertainment, from a small group of companies poses a real threat to democracy.
Move Fast and Break Things offers a vital, forward-thinking prescription for how artists can reclaim their audiences using knowledge of the past and a determination to work together. Using his own half-century career as a music and film producer and early pioneer of streaming video online, Taplin offers new ways to think about the design of the World Wide Web and specifically the way we live with the firms that dominate it.
|Publisher:||Little, Brown and Company|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The Great Disruption 19
Chapter 2 Levon's Story 33
Chapter 3 Tech's Counterculture Roots 49
Chapter 4 The Libertarian Counterinsurgency 67
Chapter 5 Digital Destruction 89
Chapter 6 Monopoly in the Digital Age 109
Chapter 7 Google's Regulatory Capture 125
Chapter 8 The Social Media Revolution 143
Chapter 9 Pirates of the Internet 173
Chapter 10 Libertarians and the 1 Percent 191
Chapter 11 What It Means to Be Human 213
Chapter 12 The Digital Renaissance 247
What People are Saying About This
"In a remarkably innovative and precise amalgam of political economy and cultural criticism, Jonathan Taplin delivers a devastating critique of our "knowledge-based" economy. This book is a profound analysis of the devastating impact of the internet economy on the promise of American life." Benjamin Schwarz, national editor, The American Conservative, former national editor, The Atlantic.
"In a remarkably innovative and precise amalgam of political economy and cultural criticism, Jonathan Taplin delivers a devastating critique of our "knowledge-based" economy. This book is a profound analysis of the devastating impact of the internet economy on the promise of American life."
"This is an essential book and singular hybrid lucid alternate history of our digital transformation, juicy memoir of a pioneering culture industry player, and bracing polemic on how our culture was hijacked and might still be redeemed. And my reaction to Move Fast and Break Things was a three-part hybrid too provoked, enlightened and inspired."
"Jonathan Taplin's brave new book unmasks a grid of high tech corporate domination that didn't have to be but that now threatens democracy itself. Like the great muckrakers of a century ago. Taplin explains clearly how that domination works and challenges us to do something about it. Our future may well depend on whether we heed him."