abc.net.au | Source: There are many variations of the same graph. The point is that there was a huge spike in the 90s and I aim to explain that.
You don't have to be an analyst to identify something wrong with the record industry's graph. Predicting an unprecedented period of revenue generation off the back of a two year growth period when two of the preceding three years had seen revenue declines (one of them large) is more than optimistic. It could be explained by new strategy, marketing and innovation pushes by the music industry, but hindsight shows no evidence of that.
In a nutshell, the music industry is adamant that illegal downloading is the prime cause of its revenues dropping over the past decade. Opponents say that we're buying more music than ever, but that we're buying individual songs and not expensive albums on CDs and that's why revenue is down. But is the current quality of music really comparable to what was on offer in the 90s? Or is it more akin to the 80s?