,

Visualizing 40 Years of Music Industry Sales

THE CHANGES OF MUSIC INDUSTRY

The record industry has seen a lot of change over the years, and especially music sales.

The 8-tracks system took a short-lived run at the dominance of vinyl, cassettes faded away as compact discs took the world by storm, and through it all, the music industry saw its revenue continue to climb. That is, until it was digitally disrupted.

Looking back at four decades of U.S. music industry sales data is a fascinating exercise as it charts not only the rise and fall the record company profits, but seismic shifts in technology and consumer behavior as well.

THE LONG FADE OUT

For people of a certain age group, early memories of acquiring new music are inexorably linked to piracy. Going to the store and purchasing a $20 disc wasn’t even a part of the thought process. Napster, the first widely used P2P service, figuratively skipped the needle off the record and ended years of impressive profitability in the recording industry.

Physical vs. Digital sales

Napster was shut down in 2002, but the genie was already out of the bottle. Piracy’s effect on the industry was immediate and stark. Music industry sales, which had been experiencing impressive year-over-year growth, began a decline that would continue for 15 years.

THE RINGTONE ERA

While acquiring music was as easy opening Limewire on your desktop computer, transferring that new T-Pain track to a flip-phone wasn’t a seamless experience.

This brief gap in technology – before smartphones hit mass adoption – brought us the ringtone era. Distribution was controlled by mobile carriers, so ringtones were a comfortable gateway for the record industry to get a taste for digital-based revenue. In 2008 alone, they injected over a billion dollars of revenue into an industry that was getting used to gloomy forecasts.

PADDLING UPSTREAM

Though services like Spotify and Pandora haven’t replaced the money pipeline that CD sales provided, they have reversed the industry’s tailspin. For the first time this millennium, record industry posted an increase in revenue for two consecutive years (and likely a third in 2018).

It took a while for consumers to warm up to paying for a premium music subscription, but today, there’s a solid basis for optimism. Music streaming is now the most common format for music in the United States, and the RIAA reports that streaming now makes up nearly half of the market.

Music Streaming Subscriptions

THE END OF PHYSICAL FORMAT?

Gone are the days when people would line up at the music shop for a hot new release. In fact, CD sales are down 80% in the past decade. Today, physical format sales only account for 17% of the industry’s revenue.

There is, however, one bright spot in physical format segment: vinyl. In 2017, vinyl sales hit 25-year high after making a slow and steady comeback.

“Vinyl is written in stone. I think if it’s made it for 120 years now, it’s here forever.”

                       – Jack White

Article by Nick Routley on Visual Capitalist. Read it here: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/music-industry-sales/

Distribute and sell your music on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, Beatport, Facebook, YouTube and much more with MusicDiffusion®

Did you like this article? Don’t miss any new post by subscribing to our newsletter!

Related Post

“Shake” by Mr. Vegas powered by MusicDiffusion ent... MusicDiffusion is proud to be the partner of Horizonte, Mr. Vegas & Haylen and the music label Space Party by powering the single "Shake", which j...
Compare MusicDiffusion with TuneCore vs. CD Baby v... We thought it would be interesting to compare MusicDiffusion prices & services with some of our competitors: TuneCore, CD Baby & Distrokid. ...
+11000 music delivered by MusicDiffusion last Janu... Thanks to all our artists and music labels members ! Last month was a new step for MusicDiffusion, in only 30 days, our music creators community h...
How to choose the best music distribution for you ... Part and parcel of getting your music out there into the world is ensuring that you can be found in all the right stores. That’s where digital distrib...
3 replies
  1. Christophe
    Christophe says:

    Aha Napster! Toute une époque… moi j’utilisais autre chose, je ne sais plus le nom… mais c’était le même principe de P2P

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *