Alan Krueger's thoroughly entertaining economic speech (that phrase is not an oxymoron.) at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (that address is not a typo.) is a potpourri of cool factoids, but the bottom line is that if you want to understand economic inequality in the U.S., start with the music industry.
Here's the evolution of the "winner-take-all" music biz, where the top 1 percent of artists have more than doubled their share of ticket revenue since 1982 ...
... and here's the evolution of the "winner-take-all" American economy, where the top 1 percent of earners have doubled their share of national income, too.
The simplest way to explain both trends in the same breath is to say that globalization and technology have conspired to give the world unprecedented access to the best stuff (songs, socks, smartphones). This gives the best producers (of songs, socks, and smartphones) access to more wallets than ever. And that helps the folks behind the world's best songs, socks, and smartphones use their best-in-class status to gobble up more money than ever before.
But the most interesting way that the music industry teaches us about the overall economy isn't income inequality, exactly. It's duplicability.