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5 August 2009 • 7:00 am

Technology Happens – And An Industry Collapses

(Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company)

(Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company)

Those of you reading Monday’s post about the mystery industry whose distribution methods kept evolving and cannibalizing older versions can now view the rest of the story. As presented in an op-ed piece by columnist Charles M. Blow in last Saturday’s New York Times, the graphic shows the demise of the traditional recorded music industry in ‘graphic’ detail. It’s another example of the power of thoughtful graphic design.

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3 August 2009 • 7:00 am

Technology Happens – A Quiz

An recent op-ed piece in the New York Times graphically illustrated the impact of changing technology on an industry familiar to all of us. It reminded me a bit of my earlier riff on Netflix vs. Blockbuster, but it was the graphic that I found especially compelling. I’ve reproduced a portion of the graphic here, deliberately obscuring some of the detail and some of the data. The horizontal axis is time, and each of the vertical bars in the charts leading from left to right represents one year, from 1973 to 1999. Each of the patterns represents the emergence, growth, and demise of a particular distribution method for this industry’s product, and the height of each bar represents the constant current dollar value of goods shipped in each year (in billions). A black box is drawn around the peak year for each of the distribution methods.

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