Go through music industry’s amazing journey


We love stories of books and movies. We also love music. What about telling the story of the music industry then? Studying history is a key factor of success for upcoming challenges. The industry of music has been going through ups and downs for over 150 years, but we hardly know a thing about it. Get to know it all from the first origins of the music industry to worthy insights about streaming. Incredibly enough, you will see that everything that is changing now was one way or another already written in the past.


I wrote and published in French part of this study in early 2014. At that time, all relevant charts (US, UK, France, Germany, Japan, Canada etc.) weren’t taking into account Streaming on their rankings, which was just plain wrong. The idea of the article was to highlight the deep meaning of the music industry to understand how ignoring streaming was a complete nonsense. Ironically, in the months following these articles most charts changed their rules to consider a calculation involving streams rather than only sales.

A couple of years later the picture of the music industry for the future was pretty unclear as many questions were still floating all around:

  • is streaming as legitimate as a sale?
  • What will happen with physical formats?
  • … and with downloads?
  • How do current figures compare with past eras’ figures?
  • Will artists keep releasing albums or standalone songs only?
  • Are compilations going to disappear?
  • Will upcoming evolutions benefit or penalize some types of music?
  • What does music industry ultimately mean with all these changes?
  • How will be its jigsaw by 2020?

In our way of understanding the future, we will start by looking at the past – from way back in the century XIX. Sounds boring? Stop it! Not only you will be getting all answers of previous questions, know what will happen in upcoming years but you will also understand in full everything from the past!

Parts of this article are highlighted in green color during this article. Please focus on them as they are past happenings which explain the meaning of the current context.

The 2018 update puts the streaming world to the test to see how sustainable it is. It’s business model and global impact are detailed as well as how the music industry adjusted itself to it.

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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!