The music business has constantly evolved since its inception. Sheet music was the first physical form of music sold and was influenced by innovations in printing technology. Recorded music came about in the late 1800s and early 1900s, with Thomas Edison pioneering the phonograph record. Technology shifted from records to 8-tracks to cassettes, and finally, digital audio, which revolutionized the entire industry. Compact discs (CDs) skyrocketed in popularity during the 1990s and early 2000s, but so did file-sharing. To combat piracy, record labels began selling and streaming music online. Music sales have plummeted in all formats. Streaming reigns as the most popular form of music distribution, but it produces a mere fraction of the revenue traditional albums once did. The loss affects all those in the industry, especially the artists, who see an average of only $23.40 for every $1000 in music sold. But technology has allowed the independent artist to record and distribute their music to the world for little cost compared to their major label predecessors. Many wonder if the music industry is dead, but as with any other technological change in history, the adaptors and innovators will survive.
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