I am sure some of you have seen this, a graph the RIAA prepared & distributed to news outlets a couple years ago to claim that piracy had caused a "lost decade" of music sales. You can't tell from just looking at this post, but CNN was hosting the graph at ....turner.com/money/2010/02/02/news/companies/napster
_music_industry/.... napster was long since dead & buried by '10 yet Turner Broadcasting [a multimedia giant that owns CNN, Time Warner, and is a MPAA member] is still trying to blame napster for poor sales numbers. Turner also owns Time Warner, one of the 5 ISPs in the US that is rolling out a "6 strikes" antipiracy policy this month.
I came across it again today and realized a few things about this graph. Mainly, the data seems to coincide with many economic milestones pertaining to the US economy:
We should expect to see consumer luxuries like entertainment sales figures to suffer during particularly nasty economic troubles as consumers try to cut back on spending out of necessity. Here we see where the DotCom market crash and the housing/banking crash of '07 compare to the RIAA's crash.
You'll notice that the economic damage to households/consumers lags behind market recovery. Like with the dotcom crash, unemployment bottomed out after the crisis was technically over.
I also included dates of record gas prices in the US, since it is commonly accepted by economists that US consumers cut back on frivolous spending like entertainment whenever gas prices suddenly go up & this is even more visible whenever gas prices hit a new full dollar amount [i.e. going from $2.## to $3.##/gal]. Between the housing/banking crash, unemployment rate, and record gas prices it would be ridiculous to expect consumer spending on music sales to be comparable to 1999 [when the economy was thriving both on wallstreet & for consumers].
Furthermore, CNN claims "album sales falling an average of 8% each year" [source
] which just so happens to be the inflation rate during the housing/banking crash if we look at the EPI instead of the CPI [which intentionally under reports inflation, based on the types of costs it tracks & the method in which they weigh them]. There's also this to contend with:
So, if we assume 1- that real world inflation, that is the type of inflation consumers care about, is closer to 8 percent, and 2- assume that American wages have been stagnate over the same time span, then the only logical conclusion is that consumers have been loosing ~8 percent of their spending power every year
TL;DR, music sales are likely dictated by market forces, rather than piracy. But no one is talking about this possibility.