Dear Music Industry: I Can Draw Diagonal Lines, Too

Okay, so the music industry is suing LimeWire. Sue away, Lars Ulrich, sue away. You should, I guess.  But you have to admit that this image, supposedly showing how much dough the biz has lost since the creation of Napster, is pretty convenient:

Isn’t it amazing that projected sales based on historic growth show none of the, er, historical plateauing you expect from any healthy graph and in fact see as having occurred here many times pre-Napsters and then NEVER AGAIN IF NAPSTER HADN’T HAPPENED.


Guess what, MusicTown?  Even if Generation Y hadn’t happened, and even if the youngest members of Generation X kept buying music instead of (okay) stealing it in college, the economic still would have gone in the crapper at least twice since then.  You’re not really saying that incing Napster early would have stopped the dotcom bubble burst or the downturn after 9/11 or the mortgage crisis, are you?

And remember how you abandoned all the Baby Boomers once you got your hands on their kids’ allowance?  Remember how you stopped producing Adult Contemporary, remember how you colluded with radio stations and sales tracking companies?  Remember how you gave us post-grunge? You’re saying that would not have happened?  Are you saying MTV and Vh1 would have kept showing your ready-made commercials instead of banking easy cash from reality shows and nostalgia trips (which ironically tended to feature the very artists you’d stopped promoting)?  For real?

Music Industry, you can do so much better than this.  Throw in some downward trends to make this graph realistic. I’m disappointed in you, frankly.

Napster or no Napster, there’s no way I buy seven albums this year, friends.  Radio is free, dynamic, and serendipitous.  I do iTunes, but almost only when I have gift cards. Last album I bought?  Neil Young Live at Massey Hall (digital download).  Before that?  No Line on the Horizon, physical copy.  Both were excellent choices and lived up to the album mystique.  But I knew that beforehand. Buying albums from new acts is, like, seriously committing.  I don’t know.  Though now that I think of it, I did buy a Taize album for someone for Christmas, and that was a good call.

Sales graph shenanigans aside, what do you think?  Are albums (even digital ones) obsolete?  Has Steve Jobs (not Napster) really killed the music business like His Royal Joveness says?