See the original posting on Boing Boing
Im taking a week off from producing a full podcast, and am instead presenting what I hope will be a fun Thanksgiving road-trip accompaniment.
Its an audibobook excerpt. But since its the very start of that audiobook and as its read by the flat-out brilliant comedian/actor John Hodgman – theres no need to hear the rest of the thing to enjoy this standalone hour-plus of playfulness. In other words, this is truly not intended as an advert for a long-ago book! But if you find the nature of the content awkward, by all means skip it. Otherwise, you can hear it by searching After On in your favorite podcast app, or by clicking right here:
The excerpt is from my novel Year Zero. Which was, of course, a literary exercise. But it was also a sort of primal scream therapy intended to purge the demons still haunting me after years of imploring the music industry to allow me to launch the Rhapsody music service, which was the main product of a company I founded called Listen.com.
For those who dont go back that far, Rhapsody was the first online music service to get full-catalog licenses from all of the major labels, as well as hundreds of indies (before even Apple). We were also the forerunner to Spotify, in that we were the worlds first unlimited on-demand streaming music service. Eventually, RealNetworks bought us out, then later sold half of the service to MTV. More recently, in a strange, ironic twist, Rhapsody was renamed Napster.
For those interested in the birth of online music, and/or in copyright-related lunacy, I discuss those matters in a brief intro and longer outro to the excerpt. Or you can skip that, and just listen to the tale of a vast, alien civilization. One so into American pop music that they accidentally commit the biggest copyright infringement since the dawn of time – thereby bankrupting the entire universe. Yup. That is seriously the premise my first novel. And heres a fun little trailer that we put together back when it debuted:
YouTube URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NfVtpYrddM
Though its (obviously) a highly playful story, Year Zero is also a serious critique of things that I deem badly broken about intellectual property law. For some context, I discussed a particularly odious law, which also features in the book, in this TED talk a few years back (its brief and will hopefully make you laugh).
If you enjoy listening to Hodgman tackle this madness a tenth as much as I do, this episode should be an hour-and-change well spent. Enjoy!