41 Years of Music Industry Change, In 41 Seconds or Less

Car from the 1970s. 41 Years of Music Industry Change, In 41 Seconds or Less.

How much has the music industry changed in the past 41 years?  Here’s a quick spin on history.

This is US-based data, and each pie represents 100% of total recording revenue.

To watch it again, just refresh!


And, here are the individual year source images, starting with 1973 on the top left and 2014 on the bottom right.  Each image was created by the RIAA, using their shipments and revenue database.


1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2011 2012

15 Responses

  1. superduper

    What is interesting is that even in 2014, CDs still make up the highest percentage out of every category listed in the pie chart.

    • RickyLopez

      I get annoyed when people trash CDs and vinyl. I bet that any (yes ANY) digital format known today will never live 40 years or 100 years. Those formats deserve some respect albeit some was building a corporate stinking cess pit

  2. Richard W.

    The market has become so fragmented, and the categories are so focused, divided into segments, who jointly represent a universe of diverse charistics that don’t mean much to me. Give me a great performance, or at least one that shows sincerity, understanding of melody, and present the ability to phrase the lyric on top of a great pocket…you’d get my attention.

  3. Edward Jennings

    Amazing how download sales never obtained 20% of the market share. Yet Apple built iTunes on this business principle. Streaming % is the category to watch in 2015 and 2016. Vinyl will slowly rise.

    • stephen craig aristei

      I find quite a bit of agreement in the comments made by Edward Jennings (above)….I also find how it fascinating that there was no “synchronization income” in 2008 as noted by Steve (above)……I think statistics can create any story you wish….I find it fascinating that the end of CD’s is being predicted by the hardware not being installed in cars and computers…..Again, isn’t this one more in a long line of “miss-steps” by the record industry ? Isn’t this another example of how the record industry continually acts like an Ostrich by burying it’s head in the sand, and ignoring the entire world around them, while, at the same time they continue to run around with the help of a bored media, like “Chicken Little” screaming about how the “sky is falling” ……! This industry has gone through many changes over the last 100 years (it might help to study it’s history)….I also find it fascinating how vinyl has continually been on the rise, without the aid of an established “retail” (product to buyer) chain in existence…..What does that tell you….? In “Business 101”, what conclusion would you be forced to make???…What opportunities are being created? And how does this all correspond to “human nature” which has not changed since the beginnings of time? ? ?

  4. Chris Daniels

    This is so wrong — it’s not the “music industry” ! It is the recorded music delivery method chart !! It is only a part of the “music industry” for pete’s sake. Where is the concert pie chart represented here? Where is the publishing pie chart represented here? For that matter where is the rise and fall of radio v.s. internet etc etc etc. Paul, ya know I love you and I have all my students read DMN but you REALLY have to stop calling a chart that tracks what David Byrne called sale of the “shopping cart and not the food inside” a barometer of the music industry — it’s a chart about storage devise sales … thanks CD

    • Hippydog

      exactly.. The great thing about the CD is it was a “format” that was accepted world wide and by the public and all manufacturers..
      If the music industry wants to take anything of usefulness away from that idea. it maybe best to think the heyday of the industry happened because of a ‘format’ that everyone agreed on..

      is the industry in a downward spiral BECAUSE of the loss of the CD?.. not completely.. but OBVIOUSLY it does have something to do with it.. (the numbers match up to well)..
      so whats a possible solution?
      Maybe the industry should come up with a ‘format’ THEY like and tell everyone this is what they are now using.. (IE: the ‘TIDAL’ idea is not horrible.. its just not big enough..)

  5. swagwar

    great chart

    it would be cool if the pie could ‘grow’ & ‘shrink’

    just a suggestion

  6. Bingo

    Paul. The first 7 years of individual images are missing.

  7. Austin So

    What would make this truly revealing is to scale in the cost of making each of these media formats, the selling price per song, and the percentage the revenue that goes to the artist over the same time period.