Let’s be clear about something: The music industry is in great shape. More music is being made by more bands and music is being consumed by more people than at any other time in the history of the species. Gross concert revenues in 2008 were up 10 per cent, thanks to bands like Coldplay and Bon Jovi. Heck, Madonna grossed nearly $340 million on her own. And with U2, Nickelback and Britney on the road now, 2009 will be even better.

No, the music industry is fine. It’s the CD-selling industry that’s having a hard time. Even with a heavily-hyped U2 album, not a single first quarter album managed to achieve platinum status. That’s not good. But maybe Q2 will be better.

Mode, Sounds of the Universe: Hell is surely frozen over because songwriter/dictator Martin Gore has allowed singer Dave Gahan to contribute at least three songs to the album, the band’s 12th studio release and 11th under Gore’s control. Watch for a super-duper deluxe version that’ll come with remixes, demos and two 84-page books. Everything hits the stores April 21 with a world tour starting in Toronto on July 24.

Green Day, 21st Century Breakdown:
Three years in the making and five years after American Idiot, Green Day returns with yet another punk rock opera delivered in three acts. We were teased with a clip of the first single, Know Your Enemy, during the NCAA final on Monday. The full version will be on your radio by this time next week. Meanwhile, the album will hit stores on May 15.

Billy Talent/TBA:
Ben Kowalewicz and the boys spent time in Los Angeles and Atlanta sorting out the group’s third album with Brendan O’Brien (Pearl Jam, AC/DC). I don’t have a title (Could it be Billy Talent III?), but the first single will be called Rusted in the Rain and is scheduled to be released May 19. Word is the guys stretch their abilities with excellent results.

Alexisonfire, Old Crows/Young Cardinals:
The band’s fourth album was recorded in Vancouver and Hamilton and is set to be released as far afield as Australia and South Africa. All they’ll say at this point is that the album is done and it’ll be released in “early summer.”

Eminem, Relapse and Relapse 2: Marshall’s back with a two-part release. We’ll get the first volume May 19. Volume 2 will be a Christmas present.

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