Dubber goes on to share that people are dissecting the information incorrectly, that the graph does not necessarily show the end of the line for music sales. (As Dubber states, we will not even go into the wild misconception that the record industry is the same as the music industry).
The issue that it only shows the last 35 years means that you cannot see that music sales started a lot lower than is hinted at. Add to that the fact that music sales are more fragmented than ever before; there always used to be one leading format that people collected, now there are many more options to receive your music fix (CD? iTunes? mobile download?). Lastly, any rate of decline will not be constant until it reaches zero. Of course music sales will never reach zero. It will (and has) plateau off into a more reasonable steady rate. There will be more peaks and other declines I'm sure, again possibly linked to a new format discovery and replacement cycle, similar to CDs in the 90s.
Yes, people use illegal P2P file sharing sites. Yes, streaming is a big reason people may not buy or even steal music anymore. But let's not (continue to) get carried away now. Pessimists and those whom misunderstood the bigger industry have always been touting the "death of the music biz", and yet more artists are making a living from doing what they love than ever before. I've been to see more concerts this year than ever before, bought more CDs and downloads than I have for some time, and am finding more new talent every week. The music industry is going through an amazing transformation, and looking at one partial figure (declining music sales over the last 10 years) is indeed, looking at it wrong.
I totally agree that it's not the industry declining right now, it's the end of an unrealistic spike in physical sales. Much of this past revenue was going to the major labels' fat cats, and their decisions on artistic direction would be to make them further money, not to help the industry or music scene blossom. That is also one reason for the inevitable decline; people grow tired of their bland, commercial, overrated, over-hyped decisions. People needed new inspiration, yearn to discover new sounds, and the answer was the internet! Where we are going from here is maybe uncertain, possibly fragmented, and definitely exciting :)