Actually STREAMING and CELL PHONES killed CD sales. And both were what ended the ability of songwriters to be paid. When you could get endless supply of music on your phone, right at your fingertips, the storage capacity of stores to stock CD's (just like years before in Vinyl) as well as people wanting to store those big bulky things in their houses or cars, the CD was mostly done. And while Vinyl has made a comeback, it will never replace the conveinece of streaming (or the ability to get it free).
The vast majority of the listening public are NOT audiofiles, or could care less about artwork, liner notes, or the plight of songwriters. They think we are all rich any way. There is a complete disconnect between the creators of the music and the listening public. It's always been there for them, always will be there for them.
But streaming killed the CD star, just like video killed the radio star.
Best Buy was the true beginning of the end of self contained artists putting out a CD and making a living because as labels tightened belts they hired less people on the fringes or smaller fan levels and dumped anyone not in the mega level successes, while simultaneously lowering what indie artists could sell a CD for since you had to be well below or no higher than Best Buy's major artist price point and though some progress was found in the early days of CD Duplication/Replication quickly it became moot with the Internet and of course digital doom. T Shirt (and other non musical item) sales are the only ways Indie artists make money and that's far more scarce than it once was. People won't leave their houses so even cover bands can't make a living in tourist towns which have seen even their night lives shrunken significantly. How big multiplex theaters stay open is a mystery to me. It has to lose money nearly everywhere. You can only sell so much 10 dollar popcorn buckets.
For songwriters it was a better deal until Spotify and the like because few real sales were lost due to early file sharing. It is highly exaggerated. Those kids were never going to buy those artists (and mostly because of Spotify in their adulthood never did/will). Sucks for you guys but you've just joined the artists. Only a handful of artists can carry a tour anymore and most of them have to nearly be wheeled out on gurneys to play. I've paid for only one non-past their prime concert in 20 years and that was a sold out show in the massive 120K seat soccer stadium in Paris by Lady Gaga with an unknown metal band (and a good one) opening and she put on a good show, about an 8 out of 10 which is the most you can hope for these days unless you're a rabid fan of an old artist you idolize yourself into believing the show was great. In that category, John Fogerty's show at the Radio City Music Hall was really enjoyable, but the person I was idolizing wasn't Fogerty, it was his drummer Kenny Aronoff, an Indiana native I had never gotten to meet which I was fortunate to do so backstage because long time JPF member and our Music Awards Music Director Bob Malone, who plays keys for Fogerty, invited us backstage. We briefly met Fogerty but didn't even ask for a pic, but got to hang a bit with Aronoff which was awesome. The show was great for 3 reasons: Fogerty could still look and sound like he was in his prime (it was freaky how he looked so young, even up close and sounded like a recording it was so spot on his old recordings), Aronoff rocked out on drums with an awesome extended solo and back and forth with Bob in addition to give John time to rest (I think he only sang about 45 minutes of the nearly 2 hour show) and Bob Malone who stole the entire show including 2 standing ovations, one for his keyboard solo and back and forth with Aronoff and the other for his opening after a break doing, of all things, a solo accordion jam that resulted in the biggest applause and ovation of the entire show by the sold out house. (a side note, he'd never touched an accordion except once when he stayed at our house and played around with the two I have in the studio) until Fogerty asked him to do the solo at the start of the tour and by the show we saw you'd have thought he had played it all his life... he's a literal music savant, but that's another story.
Where was I... oh yeah, the concert tours are making the least money (inflation considered) ever and no one buys anything music wise unless they like to go against the grain or for a collectors item/souvenir from a friend or long time fanhood, and with Spotify, it is never getting better unless we start valuing musicianship and well done works, but alas with machine learning we're a year or two away from AI just making all the music that pushes our emotional buttons at max level, customized for us individually based on the 2K page dossier they have on everyone alive and living in a country with the Internet. Even people who never have gotten on line have deep files due to the insidious spying they do on discussions where people offline are talked about, and their purchases history and any time tech touches their lives, even without permission, they have more info on even those people than any pre-1940 in history.
Who says I am not wordy! ha!