Stats junkies: here's more data on the end of the hit-driven music economy.
A few weeks ago I posted this chart on the number of Gold (over 500,000 sold), Platinum (1-2 million), Multi-Platinum (2-10 million) and Diamond (10 million and up) albums since 1958:
Many of you asked to see these numbers as a proportion of total music sales, to eliminate the distorting effect of the overall growth of the music industry over that period. I finally got good sales data for the pre-Soundscan (1993) period, so here you go, with a nice polynomial curve fit to highlight the trends [UPDATE: I've clarified the Y axis units; it's hits/total $s]:
Here's the underlying data, in spreadsheet form. The RIAA database this is drawn from is fascinating, and if I had more time I'd be running more queries on trends in genre, sales velocity, and the changing breakdowns between gold, platinum and multiplatinum. But I don't, so I'll leave that as an exercise, as they say. If you do it and find something interesting, ping me and I'll link to it.