21 November 2013 11:00 AM, PST | Vulture | See recent Vulture news »

The best metaphor for the music industry in 1998 comes from the biggest movie of that year, Titanic (which, coincidentally, had the best-selling album of that year with its nine-times-platinum soundtrack). It’s the “King of the World” moment, when Leonardo DiCaprio stands at the bow of the ship, arms outstretched, cocky and hopeful, unaware that his dreams are about to be torpedoed by an iceberg. Picture music execs on that bow, flush with corporate coffers and boy-band revenues, largely oblivious that this was the beginning of the end: From 1999 to 2009, album sales would drop in every year but one.Napster, the peer-to-peer file sharing service — and the music industry’s most commonly cited iceberg — would debut in 1999. But the biz had already suffered a tear in its hull: President Clinton's Deregulation of Telecommunication Act of 1996, which allowed for the consolidation of media outlets. By 1998, Sony, »

- Mary Kaye Schilling

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