Stephen Witt in his book-‘ How Music Got Free’ offers an in-depth overview of the music industry and introduces us to Patient Zero of the music piracy world-Lydell Glover. Witt in his book builds not just on personalities but also around innovations in technology like MP3, Napster, torrent sites which led to the great fall in the recording industry’s revenue over the last decade.
Dell Glover: a striving African-American blue-collar worker unknowingly becomes the nexus of the music piracy culture. At the work, Glover manufactured CDs for mass consumption and at home had spent hundreds of dollars on burners and other hardware to produce them individually, illegally. First, he began with friendly mixtapes and ended up creating “a private Netflix out of his home,” with a monthly subscription for a few dollars in the 2000s. Like Prometheus who brought fire from Gods to the human world, Glover brought Kanye West’s “College Dropout,” “The Eminem Show’ and thousands of other unreleased music to the WAREZ scene (the subculture of pirated media files around the ’90s).
Once Dell’s factory was overtaken by the Seagram company and merged with Universal Music Group he moved on from bootlegging movies, games and music to join Kali of Rabid Neurosis which consisted of one of the most prolific leakers of pre-release pirated music in late 90’s and early ’00s. The music CD’s were usually smuggled out of factory by Dell’s coworkers from whom he would get them safely later and when the security was on alert, he would smuggle the CD’s out personally, under his belt buckle. Dell ripped and uploaded the music files to Kali who leaked them online. After leaking music for almost a decade, Dell is finally arrested in 2007 by the FBI and is sentenced for three months in jail, till then he had already cost the music industry millions of dollars.
Glovers creation of music piracy made it convenient for the mass to access unbounded music. And causing the music companies to face a drop in 47% sales and illegal downloading of 30 billion songs between the year 2004 to 2009 after Napster entered the scene.