Beautiful Waveform Timeline Shows Music Sales In All Media Through Time

This simple and powerful statistical graphic would make Edward Tufte proud: It shows all music sales since 1973, dividing them by media type, and presenting them like waveforms. Click to enlarge.

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[NYT—Thanks David]

DISCUSSION

accelerata-old
Accelerata

well, my question would be how much of the dollar amount is driven by people not having to purchase music they don't want on a CD album. i often found i really only wanted 3-4 songs off many CD's i bought, meaning the average cost per song was around $5-6.

if you estimate roughly 10:1 cost differential between album and single downloads, they're selling almost 17x as many singles as albums, meaning either the overall quality of albums is not good or they are poorly marketed.

either way, if i was able to selectively buy music on CD at today's rates back in the peak in 1999, i would have spend on about 20% as much money (well, probably a bit more since i would have bought some 1 hit wonder songs).

not claiming this accounts for everything by any means, but i'm sure have more fine grained control over purchasing has contributed to the revenue decline.