30 Years Of Music Industry Upheaval In 30 Seconds

In 30 years, we've gone from flipping cassette tapes to playing CDs to downloading iTunes to streaming Spotify.

These seismic shifts in the music industry are visualized in a fascinating GIF, created by Paul Resnikoff, founder of Digital Music News, using sales data from the Recording Industry Association of America.


Part of the story here is the massive rise of the CD in the 1990's, which Resnikoff calls "one of the most successful formats ever witnessed" by the music industry.

CDs peaked in popularity in 2003, when they accounted for 95.5 percent of market share. By 2013, their share had been whittled down to just over 30 percent.

"What you're witnessing is not only a radical transformation from physical to digital ways of listening to music, but within digital, a huge and ongoing shift from downloads to streaming," Resnikoff told The Huffington Post in an email. "The recording remains more popular than ever, but they way recordings are being listened to is shifting very, very quickly.

In the late 2000's, we see the rapid explosion of digital media formats for listening to music, including downloads from sites like iTunes and streaming services like Spotify.

Resnikoff says that the same disruption that has affected music has also shaped the rest of the entertainment industry.

"Music is not in a bubble: in the past decade alone, the demographic that is typically most interested in music is also devouring TV, film, games, and, well -- the internet -- in massive quantities," Resnikoff said. "Sitting around, smoking weed and listening LPs is a quaint memory of a simpler time in entertainment media."

Looks like those soulful days of smoking joints and savoring vinyl have been replaced by selfies, Twitter metrics, and musical "arrows through the heart."