The summer doldrums are here as the music industry struggles to combat continued dropping CD sales and now cries itself to sleep over the worst summer concert season in more than a decade. There are so few bright spots right now, yet one beacon continues to let his light so shine. Yes, Eminem holds at No. 1 once again with no true challengers in site. The set up for “Recovery” was, in many ways, subtle and yet masterful and has completely reestablished his supremacy at radio, retail and, via four sold out stadium shows with Jay-Z, as a live act.

1) Eminem (No. 1 last week): He’s so happy with the way the public is snapping up his album, he’s changed the name of the duet with Rihanna to “Love the Way You Buy.”

2) The First Amendment (not ranked): A federal appeals court struck down rules imposed by the FCC governing decency that seemed unnecessarily strict and financially draconian after they were rigidly imposed following Janet Jackson’s 2004 nip slip. That sound you hear is the collective sigh of relief by radio DJs around the country who no longer have to fear getting fired for letting the occasional expletive slip through.  Will FCC chairman Julius Genachowski appeal? Not likely.

3) Justin Bieber (not ranked):  His video for “Baby” crawled past Lady GaGa’s “Bad Romance” to become the most viewed video ever on YouTube. Total tally: 245,074,968 and counting. And we wonder why kids are failing math.

4) Pearl Jam (not ranked): The band announces from stage in Portugal that is it going on hiatus, marking the first true break it has taken in two decades. Grown men openly weep into their threadbare, flannel plaid shirts and play “Yellow Ledbetter” on a loop.

5) Vinyl (not ranked): Sales of CDs continue to plummet, but vinyl continues its teeny, tiny resurgence. For the first half of 2010, vinyl sales were up 9.1% Sure that amounts to a measly 1.3 million units, but there’s something wonderful about it for indie records stores. Go buy a record this weekend to celebrate.

6) Phoenix (not ranked): In a staggering short period of time the band has gone from having a small, not even cult, following to busting wide open and now they’re headlining Madison Square Garden. No ashes for this Phoenix. Only rising….

7) MTV Networks (not ranked): The cable/online outlet and Universal Music Group are playing hardball with each other as they negotiate how UMG will be compensated by MTV for content--stuff like Eminem and Lady GaGa videos. UMG, which launched Vevo earlier this year, is feeling cocky with its own outlet, but we bet they blink first. Money for nothing, videos for free….

8) Guided By Voices (not ranked):  The much beloved, seminal indie band announces a tour featuring its “classic” mid-90s line-up, marking the first time this  configuration has toured together in 14 years. Call me naïve, or just a Pollyanna, but it doesn’t seem Guided By Money.

9) Neverland (not ranked):  A California assemblyman, prompted by the NAACP, plans to propose that Michael Jackson’s 2,500-acre property by turned into a state park. Given California’s $19 billion budget deficit, the likely response: “No, no, no.”

10) Live Nation Entertainment (not ranked): The world’s largest and most powerful promoter admits that ticket sales are down 12% for the top 100 bands for the first half of the year. Shares plunged 16% at one point—the lowest since its merger with Ticketmaster—and rebound to end the day down 10%. Main competitor,  AEG, while hardly having a better time of it, sticks more pins in its Live Nation voodoo doll.

What do you think of this week's rankings? 

Last week's rankings:

July 9, 2010