‘Tis the season of the year-end list. With so many people on holidays, year-end lists–articles put to bed and scheduled before the holidays–are going to dominate virtually ever sort of website you’ll see this week. But outside of the specifics of each list, is there something we can glean from all these lists from a macro point of view? The Irish Times thinks so. Have a look at this artcile called “What the end-of-year lists tell us about the music industry.”
At the end of each year comes a rush of lists. Every publication, blog, broadcaster and online or offline entity of every hue is putting the year to bed in a flurry of top 10s, 20s, 30s and 100s summing up the previous 12 months. Be it albums, tracks, gigs, bands, books, videos, reissues or haircuts, the lists have taken over the narrative. It’s futile to protest, so just dive in and count to 10.
Historically, these end-of-year lists provided a robust and reliable guide to the year gone by. Collective wisdom means there’s usually a couple of albums that get the nod from most critics and pop up on nearly every list.
These are the albums that sum up the year in rock, pop, jazz, trad and whatever you’re having yourself, and the same names typically dominate. Of course, a diehard indie fan or publication would be championing a completely different set of selections to their hip-hop brethren, but there would be at least some uniformity between those of a similar persuasion.
This year, however, the spread of albums getting mentions in individual dispatches is wider than before. It’s interesting to look at the top 10 album lists from Today FM’s Paul McLoone, 2FM’s Dan Hegarty and God Is an Astronaut’s Torsten Kinsella, as published on Paul Page’s Between the Bars blog. There was just one crossover – Blur’s The Magic Whip – between the three contributors, making for 29 different albums in all. When The Ticket’s music writers were polled, they ended up plumping for 50 different albums between the seven involved.