The URL below is for a Houston Chronicle article on the past decade in the music business. Some interesting observations, particularly about how full albums and individual songs are faring under the current model (full disclosure: a friend of mine wrote this piece).
It's encouraging to know that younger acts are still interested in the album as a format, and that artists who follow the tried-and-true method of starting small and touring to build a following are still succeeding (although perhaps at lesser rate).
I think the album and the single became really disconnected this decade.
If you look at the 90s singles list, every song in the top 10 was on an album that makes our top 500 albums on acclaimed. In most cases, they're off albums that make the top 200.
Now look at the 00s single list. It's a mix up of songs from moderately acclaimed albums and albums with barely any acclaim, with maybe two or three classic albums getting single representation.
This extends to entire artists careers, and basically started in the late 90s. Some artists like Wilco have album scores that rank next to The Kinks and singles scores that rank next to Billy Idol; kind of a drop off, don't you think?
On the flipside we have artists like Beyonce, Kylie Minogue and Britney who have little or no album acclaim getting top 500 of all time singles acclaim. Kind of a weird situation.
I think when the decade end lists are tallied, it might rectify the situation, as bands with more of an album slant are starting to get more singles acclaim, and artists like Justin Timberlake who got huge singles acclaim are starting to get album props.