About Me

Rob LevineI am a journalist based in New York and Berlin, and Free Ride is my first book. Before starting this project in late 2009, I was the executive editor of Billboard. I have also worked as an editor for Wired, New York, Details, and – back before Bubble 1.0 – RollingStone.com and HotWired. My writing has appeared in those publications, as well as the New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Fortune.

Because someone will inevitably ask: I don’t dislike technology, by any means. I’ve always been interested in it, and I worked as an online editor back in 1995, when we used to write html code by hand. Back then, we imagined the Internet as a market for information that would let independent artists compete with record labels and movie studios on an even playing field.

Over the course of the last five years, I realized that this isn’t happening – and I have grown increasingly afraid that it never will. Instead, we’ve created an information economy where information is almost impossible to sell. And we’ve replaced old-media gatekeepers with digital oligopolists like Google and Amazon, who have just as much influence in Washington as media conglomerates. This isn’t healthy for our culture or our economy.

It is not inevitable, however. Technology will always grow more powerful and less expensive – and that’s a good thing. But how we design the systems that use it is up to us. The fact that I favor regulating the Internet, smartly and cautiously, does not mean that I don’t “get” technology any more than favoring speed limits means I don’t understand cars.

You can find information on how to reach me here.


2 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Good book. But query: how come you’re reproducing so many writers and publishers work here for free?
    You want to promote your book, so you’re harvesting all kinds of material for your benefit. Is that right?

    Posted by PJ Grant | January 2, 2012, 9:53 pm


  1. Pingback: 2013, il web che verrà « C'è solo la strada - December 28, 2012

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What people are saying

"A wonderfully clear-eyed account of this colossal struggle over the future of our cultural lives."
—Bill Keller, New York Times

"A book that should change the debate about the future of culture."
—New York Times Book Review

“A timely and impressive book.”

A “smart, caustic tour of the modern culture industry.”


Buy My Book


Hodges Figgis bookstore
6:30pm, January 24
Dublin, Ireland

Digital Biscuit conference
11:15am, January 25
With Bill Whelan
Dublin, Ireland

Institute of International and European Affairs
1pm, January 25
Dublin, Ireland


Keynote speech,
OnCopyright 2012

Keynote speech,
Canadian Music Week

Keynote speech,
Brussels Creators Conference

Television interview,
"The Agenda with Steve Paikin"

Keynote interview,
World Copyright Summit

Speech on journalism,
USC's Annenberg School

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