Here is a stunning visualization of the collapse of the music industry.
The graph shows the development for the recording, not the music industry, as it lacks any numbers from the live segment or merch ect..
Also it misses some current details as ‘digital’ reflects revenues by downloads only, streaming is not mentioned (yet I doubt that too much revenue is generated through this channels).
What you can see from this graph is the overwhelming bias on the CD market, sported by sales of vast back catalogues in the 80s and 90s, which makes it difficult to take this era as the reference for todays situation.
Regardless, as the chart indicates, it may not make much sense to use the height of the compact disc era (fueled in part by fans replacing LPs and cassettes with CDs) as the main reference point for determining the health of today’s music industry — especially when YouTube reports a 200- to 300-percent increase in its payouts to record labels during 2010.