Now that the NYE hangovers have cleared, it’s time to look into the crystal ball to see what to expect from 2014, beginning with Part One: A-K.

A = ANTICIPATED RELEASES

 

We chose ten of ‘em, some already scheduled, others still works in progress.

 

Bruce Springsteen: most of High Hopes, of covers and reworked unreleased material, was cut during an Australian tour when The Boss and his E Street Band proved they are still more vital than we could even expect them to be.

 

Muse: they’ve already started work on the follow-up to The Second Law, with Matt Bellamy predicting that they’ll go into the studio in a few months. “I’ve written some good tracks, actually,” he told triple j. “We haven’t had a chance to rehearse them out yet.” The first single is due by Christmas.

 

U2: due in April with input from Danger Mouse, will.i.am, David Guetta and RedOne. New track ‘Ordinary Love’ from the Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom biopic could be from their 1980s albums. Others offer flashes of Clash, Kraftwerk and Pistols, “stuff we listened to when we grew up,” Bono revealed.

 

Tame Impala: Kevin Parker plans a minimalist and speedier approach for the follow-up to Lonerism. “Instead of a supreme pizza, where you just throw everything on, it’s gonna be like a margerita. I don’t want to over-fill it.”

 

Gotye: it’d be impossible to recreate the success of THAT hit, and Wally De Backer admits he’s hit a “hurdle” pulling ideas into songs for his next album. But then again, he faced a similar issue with Making Mirrors, so let’s see how the sessions in Canada with producer Nick Launay pan out.

 

Metallica: it’s been five years since Death Magnetic, but members promise that 2014 is the year they’ve cleared the diary to work on new music.

 

Daniel Johns: confirmed for a release this year, sessions for Johns’ long awaited debut solo album saw him work with an exciting array of guests including Kimbra, 360, Empire of the Sun and Lorde’s collaborator Joel Little.

 

Foo Fighters: after their hiatus the Foos this month go into the studio to start work on their next album, which was already written last August. Dave Grohl told XFM he expects 2014 to be “a really big year for the Foo Fighters without question. It’s going to be great, I can’t wait.”

 

Kate Miller-Heidke: the title track of O Vertigo is an intriguing piece, sharpening the elements in her music. In the past year, Miller-Heidke’s live shows took in major cities, regional towns, India, churches and a two-week WA camping trip, so let’s see what emerges from these experiences.

 

Temper Trap: they always said they wouldn’t hit their strides until album number three, and all indications are that it’ll deliver. Bassist Jonathon Aherne revealed, “As we’ve discerned and had feedback from album two, and reviewed our strengths from album one, there’s a pretty clear vision of what we want to do.”

 

B = BUZZED-OUT WORDS

 

A University of Michigan survey found the words we want to see disappear in 2014 are ‘selfie’, ‘twerk’, ‘hashtag’, ‘twittersphere’, ‘Mr Mom’ and ‘T-bone’.

 

C = CONCERT EXPERIENCE

 

Expect a huge growth in the streaming of concerts, with additional offers as Australian inventions such as Soundhalo (you buy the concert minutes after it finishes) add to the concert experience. Is this a generational change to enjoy shows in pyjamas at home? With computers now weaved into clothes, glasses and rings, expect more amateur concert footage to go online.

 

D = DATA

 

As more artists go indie, they’ll need new data on how much traction their music is getting so they can invite more private investment. Does a play on triple j sell more records than being on a booze ad? Are you over-pricing your tickets? Are you as hot, or hotter, than you were last year? Success remains the factor that fans, execs and investors will be drawn to, analyst Bob Lefsetz emphasises. You can even track your music on pirate sites to offer a legit alternative.

 

E = EXCLUSIVE CONTENT

 

As more new media sites appear, more traditional media go online, and video games and edgy TV shows see new edge music as the way to reach audiences, there’s a growing need for “exclusive content” to make them stand out from competitors. Who wins? Indie acts and their bank managers.

 

F = FILE FORMAT

 

Whatever happened to last year’s prediction of the emergence of a new digital music file format to make mp3 and AAC obsolete? This year?

 

G = GRAMMYS

 

With so many Aussies nominated for the Grammys, will this be a year where more than one local wins? In any case there’s always the thrill of seeing Daft Punk making their first live TV performance since 2008.

 

H = HIP HOP CATEGORY

 

Will this be the year that ARIA gives Australian hip hop its own category rather than lumping it into the Urban category?

 

I = INDIE ARTISTS

 

Five predictions by Tunecorp for indie acts in 2014: (1) more use of publishing administrators to collect money from all sources, notably YouTube; (2) starting the promotion of a new release with pre-orders; (3) managers having a greater role in picking the artist’s team to increase the value of their brand; (4) iTunes Radio, after a few tweaks in its discovery suggestions and listener experience, “will usher in a fierce challenge to competitive streaming services”; (5) Vine and Instagram video allowing acts to send more creative messages to fans, and hence greater opportunities to go viral than Facebook posts.

 

J = JUSTIN FACTOR

 

2014 could well be the year we don’t have to put up with this Canadian pest any more. Long before Justin Bieber tweeted his “retirement”, Australian fans turned their back on him. His latest album sold around 4,000 copies first week. That’ll teach him to keep them waiting for 90 minutes while he was on Facebook backstage. Add Britney to this use-by list.

 

K = KANYE FACTOR

 

Involves whining every time you don’t win an award because your massive talent isn’t acknowledged by the heavens. Granted, Kanye has promised to shut up in 2014. But we bet that Ego lands again in March with the release of a textbook of 14 academic essays compiled by Julius Bailey called The Cultural Impact Of Kanye West. It is an in-depth analysis of the “moral and social implications of West’s words, images and music in the broader context of Western civilization’s preconceived ideas” and “how West both challenges religious and moral norms and propagates them.”

 

Stay tuned to thebrag.com for Part Two of The A-Z Of 2014.

 

And we’d like to know your predictions for music in 2014 – have your say in the comments below.

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