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Cowboys and Indies


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The definitive history of the music industry

About the Author

Gareth Murphy was raised in Dublin surrounded by music and the musicians his father worked with as a concert promoter. He has worked at various record companies and produced thirty electronic compilations. He now runs his own company, Atlantis Recordings. As well as composing and producing original music, he is a freelance writer and researcher for journals and think-tanks. Murphy lives in Paris with his wife and three-year-old son.


A fascinating account of the way recorded music has evolved, touched people and helped shape popular culture as we know it today. -- Sir George Martin, legendary record producer, arranger, composer, conductor, audio engineer and musician
If this book was a group, I would definitely sign them. It is that good. -- Geoff Travis, founder of Rough Trade
A fascinating trawl through music industry history ... thoroughly researched -- Will Hodgkinson * Times *
An all encompassing history of not only what might be termed the hardware of popular music from Thomas Edison's cylinders to the MP3 downloads of today, but the machinations, artistic high jinks and public scams that accompanied it -- John Clarke * Independent *
Compendious and tantalising ... The research is solid ... His original interviews - with Elektra's Jac Holzman, Def Jam/American impresario and super-producer Rick Rubin, Sire boss Seymour Stein, and Virgin's Simon Draper among many - are candid and insightful. -- Kitty Empire * Observer *
Entertaining ... comprehensive ... an illuminating history that throws new light on familiar landmarks ... excellent. -- Graeme Thomson * Mail on Sunday *
Enjoyable ... colourful ... Murphy paints lively portraits -- Helen Brown * Telegraph *
This lovingly written book ... is a celebration of the indie heroes who shaped the industry while giving groundbreaking artists a platform ... Like the Last Shop Standing of record labels, Cowboys And Indies tells their story * Record Collector Magazine *
A fascinating read. Murphy has written an almost immaculate account of the rollercoaster that is the industry, and how the recording industry developed from its beginnings at the end of the nineteenth century. It will surely be an eye-opener for anybody who has ever purchased one of its artefacts, whether on a seven-inch single, a CD or a download, and wondered how and where the whole process started. * Bookbag *
Extremely readable ... A fascinating fare about an intriguing industry and Murphy's Cowboys and Indies pans out as the most rewarding book of its kind to date. One suspects there are plenty more tales for another volume. -- Fred Dellar * Mojo *
An entertaining glimpse behind the scenes, and an informative overview of how the industry has evolved -- Ian Critchley * Sunday Times *
Greed, ambition, genius and idealism coalesce to create a vibrant and compelling narrative - a must for music fans and culture vultures alike -- Roisin Dwyer * Hot Press *
This passionate compendium ... is the tale of the moguls who have twisted the melons of musicians, profited from them, created them, ripped the gullets from plenty. Often these days - with musicologies, Wikipedia and Discogs doing it faster - books can take too long, but this book busts through the platinum disc-plated houses with interviews from the megalords of the industry ... Strangely mirroring the music industry perfectly, this tale of Cowboys and Indies is thorough on each glorious era of debauchery and blag. * DJ Magazine *

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