Kyle Bylin’s “Promised Land: Youth Culture, Disruptive Startups, and the Social Music Revolution”


Kyle Bylin has been an accomplished writer in the music industry for quite a while now. You may have seen his posts over at Hypebot, and he now works at SoundHound. Bylin compiled essays and articles he has written over the years and put them into his latest book, Promised Land: Youth Culture, Disruptive Startups, and the Social Music Revolution. The essays span from 2009 to 2013, and give great insight into the role the internet, social media, and other digital platforms factor into the way we now consume music.

Prior to this, I had kept up quite a bit with Bylin through his Hypebot posts and the couple of times I talked to him via email. He is extremely knowledgeable about the music industry, how it works, and what he thinks the future of it will be like. Many of the essays and article accurately predicted how things would end up. I don’t want to give too much away, but a few topics he covers are music consumption, file-sharing, music apps, and music streaming. This book is highly recommended if you want to better understand the progression of music in the digital age, why certain things fail and how we can make them better, and if you’re interested in the social aspects of listening and sharing music.

Hands down, this is one of the better books I have read regarding the current state of the industry. Bylin’s in-depth analysis of streaming services, music apps, and much more allows the reader to easily understand his viewpoint and why certain situations work and why others don’t. The industry has moved on from big box retailers, and now the big retailers are digital stores: Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play are the best examples of this. However, now music streaming is trying to take over. The last essay in the book touches on Beats Music and several others, mentioning Pandora, Spotify, etc. Bylin’s understanding of these platforms is phenomenal and I can only imagine what he’ll be cooking up next as these platforms either begin to grow even larger or fail from not being profitable.

Promised Land has so much to offer, and in a manageable amount of pages. The book is around 150 pages, with many of the essays being less than 10 pages long. This makes them precise and fulfilling all at the same time. For anyone looking to work in the industry, this book is a must-read because it will enable you to quickly and easily understand current problems in the industry and suggestions on how we should all work to fix them. Thus far, Bylin has been able to predict a lot of things that are currently happening and I expect he will continue to do so in the future. You can support Bylin by buying his book here.