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Animated chart of the day: Recorded music sales by format share, 1973 to 2019 – Publications – AEI

Summary:
AEI Animated chart of the day: Recorded music sales by format share, 1973 to 2019 Updated: Here’s a new animated “bar chart race” visualization above (see previous visualization here with data through 2018) showing the format share of recorded music sales in each year from 1973 to 2019 based on sales data from the Recorded Industry Association of America (RIAA) and new mid-year sales data that were just released by the RIAA for the first half of 2019. Related: See this news article based the RIAA’s mid-year data: “Vinyl set to outsell CDs for first time since 1986“: The new report states that vinyl records earned 4.1 million (from 8.6 million units) in the first half of 2019. This figure is impressively close to the CD numbers (7.9 million, 18.6 million units). With vinyl revenue

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AEI
Animated chart of the day: Recorded music sales by format share, 1973 to 2019

Updated: Here’s a new animated “bar chart race” visualization above (see previous visualization here with data through 2018) showing the format share of recorded music sales in each year from 1973 to 2019 based on sales data from the Recorded Industry Association of America (RIAA) and new mid-year sales data that were just released by the RIAA for the first half of 2019.

Related: See this news article based the RIAA’s mid-year data: “Vinyl set to outsell CDs for first time since 1986“:

The new report states that vinyl records earned $224.1 million (from 8.6 million units) in the first half of 2019. This figure is impressively close to the CD numbers ($247.9 million, 18.6 million units).

With vinyl revenue growing by 12% in the second half of 2018 and first half of this year, and CD rates barely changing at all, it could see vinyl revenue overtake that of CDs by the end of the year. If it does happen, it’ll be the first time that vinyl has generated more revenue than CDs since 1986.

In the visualization above you can see the following:

  • the dominance of vinyl records from 1973 to the mid-1980s.
  • the fall of 8-track tape sales starting in the late 1970s as cassette tapes entered the market and overtook LP sales by the mid-1980s and remained the dominant format until 1993.
  • the gradual rise of CDs starting in 1983 when they were only 0.50% of recorded music sales, overtaking cassette sales in 1991 and reaching a peak market share of 95.7% in 2002.
  • the rise in the market share of downloaded music (singles and albums) from 1.5% in 2004 to overtaking the CD market share in 2012 at the peak market share of 41%.
  • the rise in the market share of paid subscription/streaming services starting from a 1.2% market share in 2005 to overtaking the market share of CDs in 2014 and then surpassing the download music share the following year on the way to an 80% market share this year.
  • the comeback in vinyl records from an all-time market share low of 0.2% from 2005-2007 to above 1% in 2013 for the first time since 1991 before rising to 5.1% in 2015 (highest since 1988) and falling slightly in each of the last three years to a 4.2% market share this year.

See charts below for the static version of the animated chart above in nominal dollars (top chart), and also a second chart showing music sales adjusted for inflation (in 2018 dollars), both with annual sales data through 2018.

 

Animated chart of the day: Recorded music sales by format share, 1973 to 2019 - Publications – AEI

Animated chart of the day: Recorded music sales by format share, 1973 to 2019
Mark Perry

Mark Perry
Mark J. Perry is concurrently a scholar at AEI and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus. He is best known as the creator and editor of the popular economics blog Carpe Diem. At AEI, Perry writes about economic and financial issues for American.com and the AEIdeas blog.

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