End of Year Music Posts

It is a tradition here on AVC to do a top ten albums of the year post. I've been doing it ever since I started blogging back in 2003.

I will do that again this year. A number of readers have been emailing and tweeting me wondering where the post is. I plan to do it when I'm on vacation next week.

But this year I am going to do a few more music posts. In honor of the end of the decade, I will also post the top ten records of the decade.

And in a nod to the fact that the single is the new album, I will also post my first ever top ten tracks of the year.

It turns out that the post chrstmas week is the biggest music purchasing week because of all the iTunes gift cards in stockings and under trees.

So I'll time the posts this way:

Sat, December 26 – Top Albums of the Year

Sun, December 27 – Top Tracks of the Year

Mon, December 28 – Top Albums of the Decade

So don't spend all of your iTunes stored value until you read these posts this weekend. There's gonna be some good music on them.

#My Music

Comments (Archived):

  1. kidmercury

    ok boss how much do i have to bribe you to put my song for howard and jdawg on the list…..lol c’mon boss it’ll be funalthough all you silly people who buy music….lol, c’mon now, that’s just silly, why pay for something you can get for free

    1. RichardF

      well that should put the cat amongst the pigeons kid :)Should provoke some interesting discussion in an otherwise innocuous post….

    2. fredwilson

      i buy music for three reasons:1) i want to support the artists2) it’s easier and more time efficient than pirating it3) it’s a signal to others, a social gesture if you will, of what is good

      1. Mark Essel

        Oh yeah those are pretty good reasons too, but I’m sticking with Last.fm brainwashing. And a need to conserve bandwidth and I can’t multitask on my iPhone (it’s last.fm or blogging/reading)

      2. kidmercury

        pfft. the only semi-legit reason is #2, that is why i pay for music too, although i have too much respect for money (even fraudulent money like federal reserve notes) to pay for downloads (just a napster subscription for me), unless i am truly addicted to the song and i can’t rip it elsewhere off the web easily.as for #1 and #3, please, as you know there are more efficient ways of accomplishing those objectives. but hey, it’s your money, so if you want to use it to support your friend howard i completely understand.

        1. kenberger

          Totally agree w/ you, Kid. But would go even further and especially challenge #2: for those who know what they are doing (not the masses) and have the right bandwidth, these days there’s an abundance of tools that make things way more efficient and at least as easy as iTunes. Your other comment about calling API’s, points even further in this direction.I’m not advocating any of this, of course.

      3. WA

        3 very ethical and altruistic reasons. Good enough.

    3. Mark Essel

      Here’s why Kid, Last.fm brainwashed me with Sonanaut for 6months. Then I purchased the mp3s (and Sounds from the Ground) from Amazon.My problem is that I forgot to purchase the songs via Last.fm!

      1. kidmercury

        it’s only a matter of time before someone grabs last.fm’s API, hooks it up to a bit torrent network, and automatically downloads that for you for free. or, for dreamers like me, artists will some day get hip to the game and work with last.fm to distribute their music, and to serve as tehir ecommerce front.

        1. Mark Essel

          As long as I’m somehow supporting folks to make great music, I’m happy

    4. chipcorrera

      Facts don’t lie, even though fans can grab Trent Reznor’s music for absolutely no cost via the Creative Commons licensing arrangement – NIN’s Ghosts I-IV netted the singer/songwriter/geek more than $750,000 in the first three days of its release and was Amazon’s best selling album in 2008. So, I think plenty of people are willing to pay for music to fund a ton of surrounding benefits – mixes, concert videos, liner notes, etc…

      1. kidmercury

        agreed, though if people are really purchasing something besides music (which in NIN’s case is explicitly for free), then i think the more efficient route (meaning the route that creates more value for consumers and producers) is to distribute music for free and create things that are designed to sell what the fans are actually interested in purchasing (liner notes, concert videos, the feeling of being a supporter, special status as a fan, etc).

        1. Mark Essel

          I can dig that value reward shift. A whole world of takers and no giving grinds to a halt. So the input/output balance is needed to keep the artists creating.

  2. Mark Essel

    Egads!I just picked up $50 worth of mp3s from Amazon. What terrible timing on my part.Request for AVC community feedback. Last night late me and my partner hashed out a marketing idea for a tool we’re developing. The details are here, but it was simply a first cut at a much bigger prize.Here’s the mad scientist in me showing:I want to process all social media in real time with semantic engines to aid search (for users and businesses).Right now, every 5 minutes we contact a random user with a question asking if they’d like to learn more about a category, and specific entity (Check http://www.Twitter.com/semantic2 for examples).We have an opt out (but it needs some work), fortunately it’s statistcally unlikely we bother the same user twice at our current rate.What do you fine ladies and gents think?

  3. cyanbane

    I posted my top 25 of 2009 list over the weekend and I had a commenter that made a request that I list the pool of albums that I have listened to this year from which my top 25 is from to give the list better context. I am coming up on my 50,000th scroble on Last.Fm so the first thing that came to my mind was gathering a list of all my 2009 listens from Last.FM and then filtering by albums that were released in 2009. Seems like it would be a combination of Last.Fm’s API and then filtering by some kind of year published info I can pull out of Amazon (maybe?). I know you (and the avc commenter community at large) here is made up of both music and api aficionados, so if anyone has any good ideas or suggestions, please let me know. Would be interesting to see yours also Fred.

    1. fredwilson

      i have asked last.fm for a filter by issue date and have not seen it yet

  4. theschnaz

    “And in a nod to the fact that the single is the new album.” I completely disagree. Singles are a great way to find new music, Oxford Comma is how I found Vampire Weekend. A lot of music services are based on playing singles, Pandora and Last.fm being two huge ones.But come on, a stream of singles doesn’t compare with listening to a full album (you can’t take a track off of Dark Side of the Moon, you gotta listen to it all the way through). To back this up, here are my albums of the decade and I recommend everyone listen to them in their entirety:1- Radiohead – In Rainbows (2007)2- Kanye West – Graduation (2007)3- Bloc Party – Silent Alarm (2005)

    1. Graham Siener

      Totally agree on Radiohead (any of their albums) and Bloc Party. Big disagree on Kanye — wake me up when the music starts…

  5. Johnny Chard

    Fred you need to get Josef Robey to post on this one

    1. fredwilson

      yes i do

      1. justjosef

        Thanks John – Fred and I have traded notes on music this year.And as far as looking back over the last decade, that’s kind of overwhelming. The explosion of The White Stripes and The Stokes in 2001, the great LA scene I saw rise up (everything from Beachwood Sparks, Earlimart and Silversun Pickups – free shows on Monday at Spaceland) everything going on in San Francisco (free BBQs at Bottom of the Hill on Sundays – Mates of State, Beulah, Court and Spark). The insanity of late nights/early mornings at SXSW (Iron and Wine, Franz Ferdinand, The Shins) and BK’s Sha Sha he sent me as an ‘ep fone home.’ Can’t deny the Wilco + Flaming Lips + Spoon arc, as I saw those three bands play their seminal records in more cities than I can remember. Can’t get tickets to see any of them in New York anymore. As far as the past 5 years of being in NYC – Bloc Party, Arcade Fire, Phoenix and The Decembrists come to mind as far as bands I always try to see live.The iPod + the Internet has expanded my horizons further than being an early morning DJ at KVRX listening to Modest Mouse and Neutral Milk Hotel more than 10 years ago.I agree with Fred though, I didn’t do a best albums list for the first time this year. I listen to alot of music jogging now, so a big pile of songs on an iPod is how I put together my year end list. I bought the Camera Obsura vinyl at the show, and we listen to that at home as a ‘album’ so to have a list with one entry honoring the format doesn’t seem right.

        1. fredwilson

          so many great bands in this one comment.it has been a great decade for musicputting that list together will be hard but funyou can count on BK to be on it though

        2. Johnny Chard

          Atta boy!! That is a great mix for the ten years

        3. rich caccappolo

          Biggest factor in that list: “The explosion of The White Stripes and The Stokes in 2001” so much of what followed flowed from that phenomenon

          1. fredwilson

            yeah, like the arctic monkeys and the kings of leon, both contenders for topalbum of the decade along with the stripes and strokes

          2. justjosef


          3. AlanPearlstein

            right with you on the Arctics, Stripes and Strokes. Surprised about the Kings of Leon. Do you like MGMT? really liking Oracular Spectacular

  6. ShanaC

    Can I hide from these posts. I really grew up in this decade, and I don’t want to comment what I was really listening to in the beginning of that decade. Really don’t. I just saw my middle school year book from 2000. We were listening to terrible music. Really terrible music. But I was 13, 14. Do you remember what your taste in music was like when you were ending middle school and beginning high school…

    1. Mark Essel

      Vanilla Ice in high school back in ’91 though. Heh.I was just starting to listen to Pink Floyd and Rush at the end of high school, then I discovered ambient, electronica, drum and bass and…. WHOOOSH here I am almost 20 years later.

  7. daryn

    Looking forward to the lists, for the most part our taste overlap (“SUPER” according to last.fm) and you’ve always got a few albums that have totally gone under my radar.Best albums of a decade though? That’s a daunting task!

  8. karen_e

    I’m so glad these posts are coming soon. I wonder how much Miike Snow will mixed in? I’m glad we’re still going to talk about full albums. One of my favorite albums of the decade is O by Damien Rice. That craftsmanship is what I’m always searching to replicate when I choose new music these days.

  9. rich caccappolo

    Fred, I don’t want to influence your process, but I think I can predict your selections. So, in a “Carnac-like” fashion, I will put my guesses in an envelope today and will share my success rate after your official list is published. I invite others to do so in a competiton of prediction acumen!!!

    1. fredwilson

      that is such a good idea

  10. kuldeepk

    why leave out top tracks of the decade then! :Plooking forward to all the lists!

    1. fredwilson

      i don’t know if i can produce that list

    2. monsur

      I actually spend a weekend ordering my iTunes collection by year (descending) and then browsing through the tracks (keeping an eye out for stars or high-play count). It wasn’t ideal, since my iTunes library has been moved around and regenerated countless times over the years. But it was a blast to rediscover tracks and albums I loved from years past.

  11. David Noël

    Looking forward to what your picks are this time. I have a few guesses but we’ll see.

  12. Charles Birnbaum

    Looking forward to these posts. Listening to Bon Iver’s latest EP as I type this. His first LP is one of my favorite albums and my purchase was the result of last year’s top ten…

  13. bijan

    i love these end of the year lists – and I’m looking forward to your posts. crazy idea: how about next year we get a bunch of folks together and do a podcast so we can chat up & play our favorite tracks and albums.this year was also a big music year for me for another reason: it was my return to vinyl.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      Bijan,If you independently came up with your own list, how high would the overlap be between yours and Fred’s?Also, do you listen to Phoenix at all? After hearing one of their songs on the radio, I did a little digging on the Interwebs, and they have made some catchy tunes (I posted a video of one of their songs and also linked to a related thread on your blog here). I wonder if that’s a one-band French Invasion or there are others that will follow in their wake.

      1. bijan

        i bet there would be a fair amount of overlap. i tune into fredwilson.fm all the time and it’s one of my favorite radio stations.i got into phoenix earlier this year. <http: bijansabet.com=”” post=”” 88806711=”” my-top-5-artists-week-ending-2009-3-22=””>. Thx for the reminder though, I’ll spin them up again.

  14. monsur

    Is it just me, or do this year’s best-of music lists feel a lot more diverse than years past? Whereas previous year’s lists seem to contain a handful of albums that were universally ranked, this year I feel like I’m seeing a wide variety of artists, with little agreement on a top ten, much less a number one album. Maybe its just me. But as a music lover, its been great for discovering new music, and I look forward to your lists!

  15. bombtune

    I hope the new Jamie T album makes the list

  16. Bombtune

    Fred, there’s a free download from the Dangermouse produced Broken Bells. It may just make your top 10 singles for this year. Definitely worth a listen. http://www.brokenbells.com/

  17. Bombtune

    Fred, There’s a new Dangermouse produced track downloadable for free at http://www.brokenbells.com/If this song doesn’t make your Best of 2009 then I don’t what’s up.Cheers,Bombtune

  18. Chipotle

    These are heady times for fans of rock/pop music. The expanse and variety of compelling music today is truly phenomenal.Looking forward it will be interesting to see if Guitar Hero/Rock Band has an effect on the next generation of musicians.BTW, given the growing importance of the live show to the business of music I’d be interested in your list of best shows of the year and decade.

  19. vesterinen

    Looking forward to all three posts. Another good reason to look forward to the Xmas times. Thanks for seeing the trouble and sharing great music.