MTV has a rundown of events showing that 2007 was the year the music industry broke. Not broke as in "broke big," like "The Year Punk Broke." Broke as in "became broken." (Which I suppose is followed by "went broke.")
And in Wired, David Byrne explains the modern landscape and what musicians can do about it. I'm a huge fan of his music, his writing, and his art, so far be it from me to add anything to what he said, but I'll point out my favorite part: he begins by defining music, a subtle way of pointing out how warped our modern definition of it has become. Before the latter half of the 20th century, music was like conversation--live, in the moment, and tailored for specific social events. There was no plastic, no manufacturing, no "radio-ready" mixes, no merchandising, no marketing, no branding. Just, you know, notes and words. When it was over, it was over. To me, this is still what music's about--recordings are great, but the context in which you listen to them can completely change how they sound, and a live performance is still the highest form of musical art.
Which brings me to the Crocodile, which closed suddenly last Sunday. If you lived in Seattle in the 90s, or even visited, and are into live music, you probably saw a show there. Clubs come and go, but they had a great sound system run by an excellent sound engineer, and were genuinely decent to the musicians playing there, regardless of how hot they were at that particular moment. A shame, but live music continues in the many other mid-sized clubs that have sprung up in Seattle since the Croc opened in 1992.