Music is a huge part of our culture. It helps us learn, thrive and prosper as civilizations. It will always be a part of our lives, but in what form?
Each year, humanity invents new devices to help us more easily live our lives. Apple is a huge contributor to technology, having invented the Mac, iPod, iPhone and, most recently, the iPad.
The company is also home to the world's largest and most popular online music store, iTunes, which has 6 billion sales and counting. Are all these music downloads responsible for the decline of CDs, though?
Vinyl records, the oldest of music storage devices, were created in the late 1800s. In the 1960s, 8-tracks and tapes were invented. CDs followed in the '80s. Now, the world has diverted its attention to MP3 downloads.
Since computers are such a vital part of our lives, music downloading sites such as iTunes, Amazon and Rhapsody seem to be the way to go. They are fast, convenient and easy to use. We can browse the Internet while our music downloads and then simply transfer the MP3s to our music player.
We don't even have to leave our home. Everything we want is at our fingertips with Internet access.
In 2006, just five years ago, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry compared the number of hard copies to music downloads. Only 10 percent of music sales were electronic copies. However, CD sales plunged 20 percent that year.
The percentage of downloads continues to rapidly increase, narrowing the gap each year. According to a January report by National Public Radio, downloads are a large percentage of artists' revenue (especially for pop artists such as Ke, whose electronic copies equaled 35.6 percent of her total sales in 2010). However, they are not completely dominating the record industry: yet.
One key factor for this is people often only buy one song at a time. Rather than buying records, we buy a song here and a song there; 99 cents is not much compared to the $10 or more the whole record would cost.