Sells like Teen Spirit: Music, Youth Culture, and Social Crisis

By Ryan Moore | Go to book overview

6
The Work of Rock in the Age of
Digital Reproduction

One might generalize by saying: the technique of reproduction
detaches the reproduced object from the domain of tradition. By
making many reproductions it substitutes a plurality of copies for
a unique existence. And in permitting the reproduction to meet
the beholder or listener in his own particular situation, it reacti-
vates the object reproduced.

—Walter Benjamin1

For all contemporary musical life is dominated by the commodity
form; the last pre-capitalist residues have been eliminated. Music,
with all the attributes of the ethereal and sublime which are gener-
ously accorded it, serves in America today as an advertisement for
commodities which one must acquire in order to be able to hear
music.

—Theodor W. Adorno2

In April 2000 Lars Ulrich, the drummer for Metallica, filed suit against Napster, the online music file sharing service that Ulrich charged with giving Metallica's music away for free through the Internet. At roughly the same time, Napster would also be sued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), a coalition of recording companies led by A&M Records, as well as the rapper and producer Dr. Dre. Their actions targeted not only Napster but also individual consumers; the RIAA began prosecuting people for downloading music while Metallica and Dr. Dre collected lists of hundreds of thousands of Napster users

-197-

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Sells like Teen Spirit: Music, Youth Culture, and Social Crisis
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • 1: Anarchy in the Usa 1
  • 2: Reagan Youth 33
  • 3: Hell Awaits 75
  • 4: Young, Gifted, and Slack 114
  • 5: Retro Punks and Pin-Up Girls 156
  • 6: The Work of Rock in the Age of Digital Reproduction 197
  • Notes 219
  • Bibliography 245
  • Index 265
  • About the Author 275
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