Move Fast and Break Things by Jonathan Taplin
How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy

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Move Fast and Break Things is a timely and useful book because it provides an antidote to the self-serving narrative energetically cultivated by the digital monopolies. They have had an easy ride for too long and democracies will, sooner or later, have to rein them in.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Move Fast and Break Things tells the story of how a small group of libertarian entrepreneurs began in the 1990s 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.
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: tolerating piracy of books, music and film while at the same time promoting opaque business practices and subordinating privacy of individual users 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%, 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. Google's YouTube today controls 60% of the streaming audio business and pays only 11% of the streaming audio revenues. More creative content is being consumed that ever before, but less revenue is flowing to creators and owners of the content.
With the reallocation of money to monopoly platforms comes a shift in power. Google, Facebook and Amazon now enjoy political power on par with Big Oil and Big Pharma, which in part explains how such a tremendous shift in revenues from artists to platforms could have been achieved and why it has gone unchallenged for so long.
The stakes in this story go far beyond the livelihood of any one musician or journalist. As Taplin observes, the fact that more and more Americans receive their news, 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.
 

About Jonathan Taplin

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Published April 18, 2017 by Little, Brown and Company. 321 pages
Genres: Computers & Technology. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Move Fast and Break Things
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Above average
on Feb 20 2017

A powerful argument for reducing inequality and revolutionizing how we use the Web for the benefit of the many rather than the few.

Read Full Review of Move Fast and Break Things: H... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by David Runciman on Apr 26 2017

It’s a sign of how slavish the world built by Silicon Valley has become. Taplin’s own experience with Ohanian should show us just how dangerous it is to be dependent on the goodwill of spoiled brats.

Read Full Review of Move Fast and Break Things: H... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by John Naughton on Apr 17 2017

Move Fast and Break Things is a timely and useful book because it provides an antidote to the self-serving narrative energetically cultivated by the digital monopolies. They have had an easy ride for too long and democracies will, sooner or later, have to rein them in.

Read Full Review of Move Fast and Break Things: H... | See more reviews from Guardian

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