Simply put, what a great year for music. The repeated obituaries for the music industry were clearly erroneous, clearly overstated. In real terms the record industry is in big big trouble, especially the old guard record companies and the world they know and live in. If any evidence of that beyond falling sales was needed, witness the thrashing around of Doug Morris, the head of Universal Music, in his attempts to blame the impending demise of the system as they know it on anyone but themselves.

Right now the ploughs are out digging up the playing field. What and where we will end up, I don’t know, but the likes of iTunes is only a way station on the way there. Ask me if five years and I may have a clue…

So, 2006, a vintage year for contemporary music, I think, but aren’t they all. That I still get excited at my ripe old age about new music makes me happy, but I think I would shrivel up and die without it. And it’s easier and easier to get hold of, courtesy of our electronic world, something that must seem like a cruel irony to the record companies who monopolised for so long by controlling the means of distribution. There is more music everywhere than there has ever been in my lifetime and more people are listening.

So to my personal picks for 2006 (and thats all they are..nothing definitive, just the things I’ve liked)…..

Firstly singles…and there were a few. There are singles by acts that I’ve included in the albums but will avoid here to prevent a double up.

Albums….actually not that many, partially because I’ve found myself listening to a lt of older albums, but partially because my focus is very clearly less albums than singles these days. A few of these acts released a few singles that would’ve made my above list (especially Anders Trentemoller) but are either on the album or, in his case, come as a bonus disc. Lucky…

Mixed albums….

Reissues and comps