Go through music industry’s amazing journey


279/365: Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

Years of contradiction

The digital era is the era of all paradoxes. The one which deleted the physical format while searching for the best one. Which saw all-time highs in terms of sales volume that go on par with some of the lowest years in terms of revenues. It’s also where the constant evolution of technology brought all processes related to media, revenues and promotion back to the very original form they had in the first years of the music industry.

This industry has always been concerned about adjusting to consumers’ habits. All physical formats got released before the need was felt by consumers. Plus, all formats which disappeared did so barely because a more modern one was available. In 2003, for the first time ever, the opposite situation happened. The collapse of a physical format forced majors to rely on a new one, digitals. It means the music industry felt short in anticipating upcoming changes, being a good 10 years late. This strategy error will end up being an awfully expensive mistake. In fact, IFPI reports tell us that trade value of the industry dropped from $25,2 billion in 1999 to $14,2 billion in 2014.


The iTunes Store: a worrying albeit promising new actor

In April 2003 in the US, in June 2004 in Europe, in December 2004 in Canada and in late 2005 in Japan and Australia. The iTunes Store was deployed all over the world from 2003 to 2005. Quickly, charts from most countries started to take into account digital sales. Expectations were high for this solution considering how many advantages digitals had for the consumer. There was no more changes in record format requiring to replace your old disks. It was possible to copy the song on various hard disks. To do backups, to listen to it on various computers and phones.

Indeed, the first corollary of the end of a physical format solution was actually the main revolution of the digital format: consumer finally got rid of the Music Player constraint. Once he purchased a download, he could listen to it anywhere he wants.

A second corollary to this formula was just as important. The number of potential consumers was instantly much higher. In brief, every person owning an internet connection was able to download. That represented way more people than consumers owning a proper music player.

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Vernon Smith

Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, all were singer-songwriters to name a few but you’re perpetuating the typical myth. You equate songwriters as the people who make “the music”. This is nonsense. For Example, Jimi Hendrix did not write the songs “Along The Watch Tower” or “Hey Joe”. Do you equate Jimi’s record of Watchtower as the same “music” as Dylans record? Of course, you don’t. Well relevant to Elvis and the relevant songs Elvis recorded, the Hendrix example is analogous to what Presley and his lead guitarist did in “music” on Presley’s records. another quote “Often, fans of old glories feel… Read more »


You’ve forgotten one thing…… His music is shit!!


I don’t claim to be an expert on him or his movies but my impression has always been, that while they and the resulting albums and songs were extremely successful to begin with, as time went by, they ended up being seriously damaging and detrimental to his musical career. Resulting in a real fallow period of chart success, throughout most of the 1960’s.

Jackson was never as big as Presley, he was always quite a slight man!


Martin, his peak was way2 bigger than Elvis



I just finished to read the article, it was so interesting, thank you for it. This is why I love this website, we have analysis of artists but also of the market, which is very important too, we have clear answers to our questions. It’s fascinating!
Thank to you I changed my mind about streaming!


Great article!