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    1. Thomas Hawk 49 months ago | reply

      I wonder how much lower the graph would have to go before we could get rid of the RIAA?

    2. snej 49 months ago | reply

      If it weren't adjusted for inflation, I'd have expected the dollar values to go up rapidly during about 1974-82, the period of double-digit inflation, and more slowly afterwards. (I was around then, and remember LP prices going up something like a dollar a year.) Instead it's the other way around.

    3. wejhbfjwebfjhqwfhwbefwebf 49 months ago | reply

      A chap on Evolver (I think) suggested that the chart should be read as a stacked histogram with unrelated areas inside. That is to say, the axes describe the outside curve but not the format blocks under the curve. That makes more sense (in one way!) but it still wouldn't be right. For example, if you take a column from around 1979, you've got the old format (vinyl) in the middle, the next format (8-track) on the bottom and the new format (cassette) on top. And you can't read any values off the data, even though you have two very clear axes. In 1973 zero(ish) cassette shows around $2billion but in 2004 the same point reads around $zero. The only explanation I can think of is that the client asked for a graph which conceals the growth of digital.

    4. CA_Jim 49 months ago | reply

      philoye's right.
      "This chart isn't adjusted for inflation, making it rather useless."

    5. wejhbfjwebfjhqwfhwbefwebf 49 months ago | reply

      Here's a clearer example of the same technique. I don't know if I can post a link here but it's on Digital Music News yesterday (no I can't post the link, sorry). It's not the same data, this one is singles by unit over time and format. But again, the new formats start at the bottom, showing growth, until we get to digital (online) which is shown on top of the CD columns declining. Rob @bemuso

    6. coxy 49 months ago | reply

      Nobody produces tapes or 8-tracks anymore, but surely the LP/EP category still has some life in it, since they're still available in high-street retailers (in the UK, at least) and still immensely popular in independent retail stores.

    7. jwallacephoto 49 months ago | reply

      After "Digital", it needs another shaded area for "Frivolous Piracy Lawsuits."

    8. Mind Booster Noori 49 months ago | reply

      "Nobody produces tapes or 8-tracks any more" is a wrong statement. Sissy Spacek's "French Record" was released last month on tape. I don't know of any 8-tracks released in 2011, but 2010 saw more than a few released.

      Regarding the graph, it would be useful only if it showed units...

    9. Thomas Hawk 49 months ago | reply

      didn't Napster hit right about at the top of this graph, sigh, remember the good old days of Napster?

    10. Alexandre Van de Sande 49 months ago | reply

      The problem with stacked graphs is that a big mover on bottom will distort everything on top of it. For example, if we switch position of the digital and CD sale (stacking from bigger to smaller) the graph changes from "all music sale is plummeting to it's death" to "cd sales is over, but digital is growing to a smaller, but significant level". In fact if we ignore inflation, digital is on par to the profit of the 70's 80's, making the 90's the aberration.

    11. wejhbfjwebfjhqwfhwbefwebf 49 months ago | reply

      A perfect illustration Alexandre.

    12. riddle 49 months ago | reply

      Great rebuttal, Alexandre!

      I wonder how many people who see the original chart at Business Insider, etc., will get as far as Alexandre's comment?

      (I do wonder how "global" RIAA's numbers are and were in the past. Was the growth in the 90's because people globally bought more music? Or bought more music trackable by the RIAA?)

    13. troy.n [deleted] 49 months ago | reply

      If it had more colors I'd be interested.

    14. davidmccabe 49 months ago | reply

      This is a great idea for a chart, but it can't be stated strongly enough: Any chart over this time-span that doesn't adjust for inflation is simply a lie.

    15. gmorfy 49 months ago | reply

      The pre-1987 period is/should be adjusted for inflation.

      The 2nd big story there: big big profit on CD sales in the 80s and 90s. We sure got gouged at the time. No wonder the RIAA was so eager to stop Napster and Kazaa. They has a really good thing going on.

    16. yeon.ghost [deleted] 49 months ago | reply

      what about small labels?
      CD are not just released by major...

    17. Thomas Hawk 49 months ago | reply

      I wonder if there could be some way to make the downslope go faster in the next few years ahead. It's a good trend, but is there a way to speed it up?

    18. Marco Raaphorst 49 months ago | reply

      this is RIAA only. what about independent artists not members of RIAA?

    19. sandy1169 49 months ago | reply

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