“A wonderful book that catches an encouraging shift in the zeitgeist. Ruen’s epiphany regarding the effects of his own piracy and freeloading on the bands he loves was eye opening–for me, at least. Although he mainly deals with music, the arguments he presents will apply to print and other media equally. I’ve recommended this book to a number of friends, some of whom may have felt this discussion was over…it’s not. After a couple of decades of waffling, it’s really just begun.” -David Byrne, musician and author of How Music Works
“The original slacker’s dream of free everything may have been realized by the Internet—but along with it came the slacker’s nightmare of never getting paid for one’s creativity. Freeloading seeks—and to a large extent succeeds—to wrestle with the collapse of the commons and the possibilities for a renewed social contract.” -Douglas Rushkoff, bestselling author of Life, Inc. and Present Shock
“Too often, arguments about copyright online come down to talking points: Theft, Internet freedom, or rhetoric about major label evils. With a critic’s eye and a music fan’s passion, Ruen shows how piracy affects artists and lays bare the corporate agendas on both sides of the debate. An essential read for anyone worried about how artists will survive in the online age.” -Robert Levine, author of Free Ride
Named a “Favorite Music Book of 2012″ by the Future of Music Coalition
“A deeply moral and passionate book.” -Sydney Sunday Herald
“Fascinating.” -The Village Voice
“Taking a rare and refreshingly unbiased look at the phenomenon of internet piracy, [Freeloading] is that rarest of discursive entities; a call for more conversation, both balanced and passionate.” -InPress Magazine, Australia
“Highly recommended.” -Copyhype
“Chris Ruen is one of the most compelling and forward thinking critics of our current download culture.” -M3 Music Conference (Netherlands)
As the battle rages over piracy, copyright, and the future of the Internet, which group argues on the right side of history? Searching for the truth, Freeloading roams the spunky streets of Brooklyn to glean real world consequences of digitization for today’s musicians, indie record labels and fans; then re-evaluates the pivotal controversies and ideas that have long dominated file-sharing debates, with a keen eye for practical solutions.
Freeloading ranges from Napster to the SOPA blackout, from the pitfalls of social media to how corporate patronage of “indie” music spread as record sales sunk. Featuring candid and illuminating interviews with Kyp Malone of TV on The Radio, Craig Finn of The Hold Steady, Chris Swanson of Secretly Canadian and Ira Wolf Tuton of Yeasayer, among many others.
REVIEWS, PROFILES, etc.
On October 20th I read the near-entirety of Freeloading from 10 AM to 8PM at WORD Bookstore in Greenpoint. Guest readers included members of Talk Normal and Crystal Stilts, along with Todd Patrick, Frankie Rose, and luminaries from the NYC experimental theater scene.
“No Sellouts Means More Selling-Out” The Big Money (Slate). June 6, 2010. (Original page on Big Money is deceased)