2009 - The Year the Music Died
About once a month I comb Amazon's bestseller lists (music and books) to look for new stuff.
Today's perusal ended in dismay over the state of the charts. Since Amazon represents only that company's sales (and I've noticed they are skewed towards web people's tastes), I hopped over to Billboard and ran the numbers on types of music selling (for the first 100).
Christmas - 25
Rock - 13
Country - 8
Hip-hop - 10
Pop - 21
Christian - 3
American Idol - 4
Dunno - 16
A solid fourth of the list is Christmas albums - old ones even. 8 of them are catalogue (meaning old) albums or greatest hits compilations - and that's not including the Christmas albums that are ancient. Even Christian albums are charting (most Christian music gives me the dry heaves, even though I am a Christian).
That many Christmas albums shouldn't even be charting if the industry were healthy, let alone a showing by Christian music at all.
Note that there are 16 albums I couldn't identify genre by sight. These days, my wife and daughters listen to a station that plays a mix of the old and the new, so I knew who Lady Gaga was before she started showing up nekkid everywhere. Yet, for almost a fifth of the albums, I've never heard of the artist.
So, I think the evidence is pretty solid. The music biz, and I knew it and loved it up until American Idol came on the air, is pretty much dead.