Now that the NYE hangovers have cleared, it’s time to look into the crystal ball to see what to expect from 2014. Presenting Part Two: L-Z (you’ll find Part One: A-K here).
L = LABELS
Of the many scenarios for the future of major labels, one is that they will have just ten superstars on their rosters, and their signings will focus on just pop or urban or hip hop. They’ll hire out their services to indie acts, as per Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ ground-breaking hiring the radio promo services of Warner Music Group in America for a percentage of the profits.
M = MUSICACT AWARDS
After a strong start in showcasing Canberra and ACT talent, the MusicACT Annual Music Awards (MAMAs) might be a no-go this year. They missed the deadline to get their annual $22,500 grant.
N = NICHE
Niche is the new black. The day of the super-festival (same acts! same experience!) will be superseded by niche festivals that offer something different for everybody. Promoters noticed the cultural shift in 2013 and predict it’ll become glaringly obvious this year.
O = OVERTURNED MANAGERS
Managers who don’t tally with their artists about their new expanded duties and marketing savvy are on their way out. Or they’ll start large companies and serve as consultants to younger managers. In the last few months of 2013, we saw management changes (for various reasons) by U2, Lady Gaga, John Mayer and Nine Inch Nails. Expect more in 2014.
P = PREDICTED DROP
The last ARIA figures showed that the Australian recording market was worth $396.1 million, up 4% from $382.7 million the year before. But unofficial estimates suggest a 5% drop in 2014. Musicians meanwhile will discover streaming services and realise that despite the whining in 2013 (“they don’t pay enough”), small amounts from many different sources can add up to something significant.
Q = QUOTA
Will 2014 be the year when the industry gets Oz radio to increase its quota of airplay for local acts, and pay proper royalties, instead of hiding behind a 1% cap which their friends in the Liberal Party gave them in 1969?
R = RETAIL
How many artists will follow Beyonce’s lead in unexpectedly releasing albums and/or exclusively on iTunes? (Adele?) This invariably means a ban by outraged retail competitors on stocking their products. If this happens, will fans find the CD and vinyl versions of these albums only in independent retail stores?
S = SYDNEY LIVE MUSIC
The City of Sydney will this year bring in initiatives such as allowing young musos to rehearse for free in town halls, piloting a live music series coordinated by its youth services team, establishing a mediation service to resolve complaints about live music, developing a permit system for bands to load and unload in areas outside venues without being ticketed, get the National Live Music Office to develop a data collection program to monitor the health of Sydney’s live music sector and finds ways to fund all-ages and under-age gigs.
T = TRIPLE J’S TOP 20 PREDICTIONS
triple j’s Next Crop for 2014: Bad//Dreems, Born Lion, Cosmo’s Midnight, DD Dumbo, Dustin Tebbutt, Eves, Gang Of Youths, Mathas, Meg Mac, Remi, SAFIA, Statues, The Bennies, The Creases, The Kite String Tangle, The Love Junkies, The Murlocs, Tkay Maidza, Wave Racer and Willow Beats.
U = UKULELE REVIVAL
Expect the growth of this revival to this year expand to more world record bids, specific festivals, awards and showcase albums.
V = VINYL
Vinyl sales in Australia saw albums increase by 70% over the previous year and 50% in singles, says ARIA. These now constitute $2 million of sales. Globally, Amazon reports sales of vinyl records are up 745% since 2008.
W = WOMEN
After women dominated the pop charts last year, will 2014 be the year when we see women in the Australian music biz form together in associations to address inequality of representation in all aspects of the industry?
X = X FACTOR GAINS CREDIBILITY
The amount of X Factor (and other reality series) contestants who had wins in last year’s ARIA awards shows that the industry (or at least the awards’ judges) are acknowledging that such shows are a legitimate source of talent. High ratings for such shows will see TV networks introduce more of ‘em.
Y = YOUTUBE
Now that record labels have discovered YouTube as a revenue source, this year will see musicians and songwriters actively monetise their channels manually or via multichannel networks, and post more videos. A ground-breaking deal saw Australia’s first YouTube partner network, Boom Video, pact with the Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners’ Society (AMCOS) for its content creators to access songs represented by AMCOS. The money generated is shared back with songwriters, composers and music publishers.
Z = ZZZZZ
A new music reality series this year, Platinum Hit, will concentrate on singer-songwriters. Expect an influx of mournful beardies who can’t dance or show off their belly buttons. Or alternatively, we’ll hear great songs unearthed.
What are you looking forward to in music for 2014? Let us know in the comments below.