Top Eight

Top Eight
Top Eight

Top Eight

How MySpace Changed Music
By Michael Tedder


400 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Cloth, PDF, EPUB

Cloth, $30.00 (US $30.00) (CA $40.00)

ISBN 9781641606585

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Aug 2023)


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"A brilliant and addictive chronicle of a pop explosion that helped shape our moment. An absolute delight to read."Rob Sheffield, bestselling author of Love is a Mix Tape, Dreaming the Beatles, and other books

In extensive interviews with scene pioneers and mainstays including Chris Carrabba (Dashboard Confessional), Geoff Rickly (Thursday), Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance), Gabe Saporta (Midtown/Cobra Starship), and Max Bemis (Say Anything), veteran music journalist Michael Tedder has crafted a once-in-a-generation exploration of emo and The Scene that is as forthright as it is tenderly nostalgic, taking to task the elements of toxic masculinity and crass consumerism that bled out of the early 2000s cultural milieu and ultimately led to the implosion of emo's first home and the best social media network, MySpace. 
When MySpace thrived, the Internet was still fun. Top Eight recalls the excitement and freedom of the era, an unprecedented time when a generation of fans were able to connect directly with the bands and musicians they idolized, from Colbie Caillat to Lil Jon. MySpace changed everything, and Top Eight gives major voices of the era the chance to tell us why it couldn't last.


"More than a cultural history—this is an epic. Michael Tedder tells one of the weirdest, funniest stories of our time: the rise and fall of MySpace culture. It's a tale full of freaks and geeks and loners and hustlers, discovering music and each other. But Tedder turns it into a brilliant and addictive chronicle of a pop explosion that helped shape our moment. An absolute delight to read." —Rob Sheffield, bestselling author of Love is a Mix Tape, Dreaming the Beatles, and other books

“This oral history takes you from basement shows to boardrooms to learn, in fascinating, hilarious, and yes, *emo* detail, why a low-tech website with eyesore graphics felt like home to so many music lovers. I loved it!” DC Pierson, author of The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To

"With all of the rush of being placed into the Top 8 of your crush, Michael Tedder’s Top Eight: How The MySpace Era Changed Music Forever details the Internet’s greatest (and sometimes horniest) social media/music/networking platform with the precision of a Scene Queen clipping raccoon tail extensions into her perfectly flat-ironed fringe. Rigorously reported, researched, andin the case of your favorite twenty-first century emo bandsrememberedthis oral history celebrates ‘00s alternative culture, technology, and early online fandom with real expertise, proving, once and for all, that Mom, this isn’t a phase. (Okay, well, MySpace was. But the effects of it? Those are forever.) A real joy for nostalgic readers, and an eye-opening text for all others." Maria Sherman, author of Larger than Life: A History of Boy Bands from NKOTB to BTS

“A thorough and fascinating history, Michael Tedder’s Top Eight traces the unique collision of technology and youth culture that came to define an era. An essential examination that reveals the behind the scenes machinations of this music biz boom to bust tale.” —Bob Mehr, author of the New York Times bestseller Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements

"Life moves pretty fast on the Internet—for instance, not that long ago, MySpace of all things was a big deal in the digital world. Without this book, an important piece of early twenty-first-century music history might have been relegated to the Wayback Machine. Fortunately, Michael Tedder has stepped in to tell the tale of how this early mainstay of social media changed the course of pop forever." —Steven Hyden, author of Twilight of the Gods, This Isn't Happening, and other books

“For anyone raised in the era between the record store and the playlist, MySpace was everything. And yet we knew nothing about its rise or fall. Michael Tedder breaks through distant nostalgia with a masterfully written, compelling and emotional history of my generation’s musical touchstone.” —Conor Murphy, Foxing

“While the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Interpol were cruising around the Lower East Side becoming NYC art stars, the scene kids were busy at home, organizing their Top 8 and deciding which Paramore song to pin to their profiles. In this comprehensive look at the Meet Me in the Chatroom generation, Michael Tedder gives us a tender, thoughtful look at the music of our MySpace moment and the impact it still has on all of us, today.” —Geoff Rickly, Thursday

"I lived many parts of this book as an executive at an independent record label. To hear from inside sources about the struggles to keep it together and issues the business faced—as independent artists and a site not ready for prime time were thrust to the front—gives a new appreciation for the moment we’re in, and for doing things for the right reasons." —Tom Mullen, Music Industry Executive, Founder, Podcaster and Writer at

Author Biography

Michael Tedder has written about music, film, the entertainment industry, television, health, and masculinity for Esquire, Playboy, Money, The Street, the New Republic, Stereogum, Vulture, Variety, the Daily Beast, The Ringer, the Village Voice, and MEL. He is the former managing editor of the music magazine CMJ and the pop culture magazine Paper, and was a founding editor of the critical discussion website The Talkhouse. He cofounded the New York–based music critic reading series and podcast Words and Guitars. He lives in the New York metro area.