All throughout the decade there have been some success stories, but to my mind there was a two or three year period around 2004 til 2006 where an enormous glut of pop-leaning indie bands broke through into heavy mainstream exposure; the majority of 00s bands still doing the rounds in the upper level of, or heading up, festival bills either emerged fresh at this point or broke through proper: Bloc Party, Snow Patrol, Razorlight, Franz Ferdinand, The Killers, Kings of Leon, Maxïmo Park, The Kooks, Arcade Fire, Kaiser Chiefs, Kasabian, Arctic Monkeys, Editors etc. All of those bands have sold into the millions, or had done with only one album and are still very popular now (some have shrunk in stature, granted).
That's obvious though, the big success stories. What's a bit more confusing is how relatively small bands flooded the charts: Nine Black Alps and The Paddingtons peaked at #25, Larrikin Love and The Long Blondes had three top 40 hits, ¡Forward, Russia! at #36, even flippin' Battle sunk the lower end of the top 40, these being only a few examples out of quite a sizeable count. Nowadays bands who receive similar levels of hype from the press - say, The Big Pink - can't dent charts and even one of the most recent 'success stories' of the past year or so, Friendly Fires, who three years ago would probably be nailing the top 20 every over month, have the same level of success as Good Shoes.
Maybe it was just my perspective being young and enamoured with these bands but there definitely appeared to be impetus placed upon the importance of singles (lots of limited edition vinyls which went for outrageous money on eBay, constant re-releasing of viable hits etc), perhaps coupled with radio/TV cleaving more to the 'indie' world with their playlists, that culminated in an extremely fertile period. Was illegal downloading as prevalent then? I can't remember. However it's spun, that mid-decade era provided a large launch pad for both massive crossover success but also commendable exposure for very uncommercial bands, such as the aforementioned ¡Forward, Russia!. Just wondering if anyone else noticed it, or could help explain it?