The website Total Bankruptcy
recently created a visual that puts the internet's affect on the music industry into a digestable format, and besides reminding us how much has really changed since 2000 (when's the last time someone mentioned Morpheus?), the infographic told us some things we already knew, and some things we didn't. For examples, with the deaths of Tower Records (remember JT's awesome/dick line in The Social Network
?) and Sam Goody's, it's obvious that the sellers of physical music are hurting the worst -- record sales are predicted to drop another 77.4% by 2016. And as sad as it is, the fact that the digital era has compromised full album sales is a relatively simple, logical conclusion.
What we didn't realize though, is how integral streaming services like Spotify have been in further shifting how we digest our music. We're not sure where they got that stat comparing iTunes to Spotify, but if it's true, that's an astonishing discrepancy. Additionally, even though the record store franchises have all mostly folded, independent record stores have stabilized and may actually be growing. Digital music is officially now primarily responsible for music sales, but somehow the sale of vinyl is increasing. How's that for an anomaly?
We mostly agree with Total Bankruptcy's vanilla conclusion -- that the digitalization of music has sown some good and some bad. Music is so much more accessible (and so much cheaper) since the year 2000 -- music-listening now can be a 24/7 experience. It's on our phones for God's sake, and that's totally awesome. Then again, we're losing a whole lot of quality by acquiescing to MP3s
. And for the last time, albums are supposed to be listened to in full! The digital era has so quickly changed the landscape of the music industry, but we aren't even close to being done -- if we follow Ray Kurzweil's Law of Accelerating Returns
, our relationship to music is going to continue to morph.
See the full infographic below.