The Record Industry's Lost Decade

The past ten years have seen exceptional change and upheaval in the recording industry. With the arrival of Napster at the beginning of the decade, as well as more refined music sampling tools like iTunes, Pandora and MySpace later in the decade, the traditional hard copy record (or CD) was clearly destined for the grave. As you can see in the viz below, the 2000's produced less than 10 albums selling over 10 million copies in the US- and none of those were produced after 2004!

We cannot underestimate the role of technology in the transformation of the record industry. Both illegal and legal online outlets siphoned sales from traditional sources, but they also widened consumers tastes. Tools like the Genius Bar, Pandora, and MySpace showed us music we’d never heard of and suggested songs we would enjoy based on our previous selections. Simply put, the 2000's were the decade of independent music. Recording companies no longer controlled the market; our broadening musical tastes did. The records that did sell this decade make me wish for a return to the talent of the 60's, '70's or '80's - Led Zeppelin, Michael Jackson, Fleetwood Mac, Billy Joel and AC/DC... though The Beatles can still sell some serious records!

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