It’s time once again to gaze darkly into my crystal Fender Stratocaster and behold what miracles and wonders lie before us music-wise in the year 2014. But before we begin, let’s recap and score last year’s music predictions:
2013 Prediction: The number of indie shows booked at larger clubs will decline, making way for more commercial fair — cover bands, pop acts, etc.
Reality: The trend started in 2012 and continued last year. In addition to pop acts and cover bands, comedy nights became a staple at almost every music venue in the city.
2013 Prediction: Shows hosted at alternative venues — including hall shows, house shows and temporary one-off venues — will become more commonplace.
Reality: Sweatshop Gallery (and West Wing) stepped up to fill that niche in ‘13.
2013 Prediction: Bands will give away music as free downloads to spark interest in vinyl and merch sales.
Reality: Almost every new recording is now available to stream for free via Bandcamp or Soundcloud, though actual downloads will still cost you.
2013 Prediction: The number of touring indie bands will dwindle as it becomes nearly impossible for even nationally known bands to make a living solely from their music.
Reality: There were as many bands touring last year as ever, but fewer stopped in Omaha.
2013 Prediction: A new digital music file format will emerge that will make mp3 and AAC formats obsolete.
Reality: Not yet.
2013 Prediction: A new social web app will emerge to promote upcoming rock shows, replacing Facebook invitations, which have become more annoying than useful.
Reality: Unfortunately, no.
2013 Prediction: A new music-based TV competition will debut, but instead of focusing on performers it'll focus on singer/songwriters.
Reality: What decent songwriter would ever sign away his/her publishing rights for a chance to be on TV?
2013 Prediction: Rolling Stone will follow SPIN and discontinue print publication to become an online-only music website, while Pitchfork will debut the first issue of a new monthly print publication.
Reality: Instead, Pitchfork diversified by launching a new online movie website, The Dissolve.
2013 Prediction: A stellar headliner will force Maha Music Festival to make a format change from past years that will involve either an additional night of music or a third stage.
Reality: Why fix it when it ain’t broke?
2013 Prediction: MECA will fill the void left by Red Sky Music Festival’s demise with at least two major outdoor concerts at Ameritrade Ball Park and six sell-out-quality shows at CenturyLink Center, including a “significant” indie-style band.
Reality: Uh, no.
2013 Prediction: Bands we’ll be talking about this time next year: Husker Du, Wilco, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, PJ Harvey, Pavement, My Bloody Valentine, Tom Waits, Lloyd Cole, Matthew Sweet, Liz Phair, Beck, Arcade Fire, David Bowie, Grasshopper Takeover and Bright Eyes.
Reality: Huskers and Wilco were AWOL, but Zep went online (with Spotify), MBV released a top-10 album, plus we got new ones from Lloyd, Beck, Arcade Fire and Bowie.
2013 Prediction: Bands we won’t be talking about: Green Day, Rolling Stones, Springsteen, Metallica, Lady Gaga, fun., Ke$ha and Psy.
Reality: Crickets from all including Ga Ga, whose new release was a flop.
2013 Prediction: All of Aerosmith’s problems will be resolved once and for all.
Reality: Tyler, Perry and Co. continued their ever-lasting world tour.
2013 Prediction: Local record stores will get some new competition from a music shop that will open in Benson that caters to vinyl enthusiasts and musicians.
Reality: Almost Music, a vinyl-only shop, opened in Benson this summer.
2013 Prediction: Expect at least two new bands to join the Saddle Creek roster, including one well-known indie veteran, while at least one long-standing Creek act will jump ship for a major label.
Reality: Saddle Creek signed and released an album by indie vets The Thermals, and released a single by local darlings Twinsmith. Meanwhile, rumors are rampant that Desaparecidos’ new record will be released by a different label (such as Epitaph?).
2013 Prediction: We’ll say goodbye to one of the area’s most promising local bands that will break up despite a label-released album, but we haven’t heard the last of the band’s frontwoman.
Reality: Conduits quietly dissolved last year. Frontwoman Jenna Morrison moved to Los Angeles last week.
2013 Prediction: Another all-ages venue will open in Omaha operated as a non-profit catering to the indie music crowd.
Reality: 402 Arts Collective launched this year. The non-profit opened an all-ages performance space and recording studio in Benson, along with a coffee shop.
2013 Prediction: An out-of-this world national performer will play a last-minute “secret show” at either O’Leaver’s or Pageturners.
Reality: No, though both venues hosted some big names this year.
2013 Prediction: A local performer will be “discovered” by a big-time movie or TV mogul who catches their set while in town working on a production.
Reality: Alexander Payne apparently isn’t into local music.
2013 Prediction: And finally, it wasn’t Bright Eyes, The Faint or Cursive but Icky Blossoms who will finally break the barrier by making their television premier on Saturday Night Live.
Reality: Maybe next year (seriously)…
So 10 for 21 (if you’re feeling generous). Not bad, not good…
As for this year’s predictions, if you read last week’s Year in Review story you got a glimpse of a possible 2014 dominated by streaming music services (and the possible consequences). So this year we’re going straight to the Lightning Round!
2014 Prediction: Thanks to social media, MTV will become an important (i.e., actual) music channel once again, but not on television, on the web. Look for MTV to emerge as a primary launching pad for premiering new music and online video.
2014 Prediction: Streaming services such as Spotify, Songsa, 8Tracks and Pandora will enter the concert promotion business, creating packaged “caravan”-type concert tours that barnstorm the country and whose performances will be streamed live on their respective streaming channels.
2014 Prediction: Target, Walmart, Best Buy and even Kmart, will reinstall record bins as the vinyl renaissance continues.
2014 Prediction: With the advent of computers integrated into apparel, eyeglasses, rings and watches — i.e. “wearables” — almost every concert you attend will be recorded and uploaded to YouTube.
2014 Prediction: Pussy Riot’s release from a Russian gulag will land them in America, where they’ll work with a handful of “important” producers to create a breakthrough punk album… before returning to Russia where they’ll once-again be imprisoned.
2014 Prediction: Upon its release next year, a song off the new Cursive double-live album will break through to pop culture in a way we haven’t seen since Cheap Trick, Peter Frampton and George Thorogood.
2014 Prediction: A one-time-only all-day outdoor concert will attract a handful of well-known national indie bands and rival the Maha Music Festival in attendance.
2014 Prediction: Speaking of Maha, the festival will land multiple headliners this year and will finally reach attendance that exceeds Stinson Park’s capacity, forcing the organization to look for a larger venue in 2015.
2014 Prediction: In an effort to keep CD prices from eroding, more artists will follow Beyonce’s lead and release albums exclusively on iTunes, causing similar rifts with retail outlets such as Amazon and Target, but opening doors with independent music retailers who will get exclusive access to “hard inventory,” such as CDs and vinyl.
2014 Prediction: More artists and independent labels will say “I’ve had enough” and follow Thom Yorke's and Nigel Godrich’s lead and pull their music from Spotify, forcing the online streaming service to rethink its business model.
2014 Prediction: Bands we’ll be talking about this time next year: Radiohead, U2. The Faint, Conor Oberst, Cursive, Ted Stevens, Beck, Prince, Animal Collective, Digital Leather, Frank Ocean, Grizzly Bear, Future Islands, Sleigh Bells, Spoon, Death Cab for Cutie, Tame Impala, Local Natives, Modest Mouse and Icky Blossoms.
2014 Prediction: Bands we won’t be talking about: Miley, Springsteen, Flaming Lips, Bieber, Chris Brown, Ritual Device, Monae, HAIM, Kanye, Katy Perry and Skrillex
2014 Prediction: All Bob Dylan’s problems will be solved once and for all.
2014 Prediction: New Lincoln venues, including Vega, will put a squeeze on Omaha music-goers, forcing them to “make the drive” more often to see their favorite touring indie bands.
2014 Prediction: One local online music-focused website will shut down forever in 2014 (and no, it won’t be Lazy-i).
2014 Prediction: Believe it or not, a local radio station will integrate a College Music Journal-style playlist into its regular programming
2014 Prediction: Yet another new live music venue will open in Benson, but this one will focus on either jazz, blues or country music. In addition, look for a new music club to open in or around Midtown Crossing.
2014 Prediction: An indie music legend with Nebraska roots who moved away from the Midwest more than a decade ago will return to The Good Life state and open a recording studio.
2014 Prediction: Look for another local singer/songwriter to break out nationally in 2014, but without the help of Saddle Creek Records. The name will be no surprise to his longtime fans.
2014 Prediction: Next year Conor Oberst really will appear the Saturday Night Live stage, but not as a music performer…