2009 mostly sucked. Okay there, I said it.
Don't even get me started on Obama. After spending my first full year as one of America's newly massive underclass of unemployed professionals, you can count me as one of the millions still waiting for all that hope and change we voted for based on the promises of his 2008 candidacy. But anyway, back to music...
Let's see, what happened this year? Oh yeah, Adam Lambert happened. Next.
Taylor Swift also happened, and in a big way too, prompting Kanye West to throw a nationally televised fit like only Kanye West can. Jack White started yet another band. Kings Of Leon had a breakout year. The Beatles gave us their Remasters; and Neil Young finally delivered his Archives.
Eminem came back with a vengeance. Pearl Jam made their best new album in years. Lady GaGa officially took her place as Madonna for the new millennium — or at least as the new Britney Spears of the week. The Black Eyed Peas found a new beginning with The E.N.D..
Meanwhile, music sales overall continued their nosedive into the depths of oblivion, even as artists continued to explore other avenues of revenue. With no more record stores out there to speak of, bands tried everything from offering their music for free online (Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan is the latest to use the Radiohead model) to striking exclusivity deals with major retail chains like Walmart and Best Buy.
Meanwhile, for indie bands willing to go the needle-in-a-haystack route, there was always the instant access afforded from MySpace and the like. It seems anyone can become a breakout success these days — as long as the masses can actually find you.
And if you still don't believe that the new digital music economy is simply the old corporate model with a new set of clothes, just try applying for a job at one of these "progressive" portals of the new musical commerce. Otherwise, go ahead and keep buying into the hype that all of this is good for music. When the internet actually does produce the next Dylan or Radiohead, I'll be sure to pony up on that beer I owe you.
Concert ticket prices continued to escalate and to price many fans out of the market altogether, even as Live Nation and Ticketmaster pushed forward with plans for a merger that would amount to a monopoly of the concert business.