It’s almost beyond belief that we’re on the cusp of the last year of the first decade of the new millennium. Soon it will be the end of the Naughties and next year we’ll be talking about the prospects for the 21st century’s teen years.
What does this last year of the millennium’s first decade hold for us? Recession to be sure, and hopefully some thoughtful and effective fixes from the incoming Obama administration. But for the moment, let’s turn away from the big picture and focus on some prognostications for the music industry.
Those of us with a vested interest in knowing things ahead of time have already begun receiving next year’s early releases; I’m listening to music right now that won’t be available until March, and so far it’s all quite good. But there’s plenty of time to wax poetic on the new year’s poetic wax and expound on its relative charms and shortcomings.
Likewise, there will be more than enough opportunity to explore the possibilities of the coming year’s touring schedule. Very soon, a good many major groups will announce cities and dates, and the speculation can begin as to who will be among the big ticket and merch winners of 2009.
Personally, I’ve been getting in touch with my inner Kreskin, and I find myself slightly more fascinated by, as Scrooge once observed, not the shadows of things that will be but the shadows of things that may be. In that spirit, I offer a few things that could (could, mind you) make 2009 a year to remember:
• Axl Rose will release a 10-CD box set of material that was considered for Chinese Democracy. It will represent his first two years of work and be ominously subtitled Volume One.
• The late Tupac Shakur, completely bored with putting out posthumous albums, will mount his first posthumous tour. Tupac: Dead and Alive will be one of the year’s biggest grosses. Literally. The live album, already recorded, will be available at the shows.
• Auto-Tune technology will develop sentient feelings like Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey and begin overcorrecting everyone’s voice, starting with fast food drive-thru orders and airport announcements and ultimately infiltrating all of humanity on an everyday basis. Ironically, the Auto-Tune takeover will have no effect whatsoever on T.I., whose now utterly normal croon will make him the new Michael Buble.
• Inspired by the success of Tom Petty’s pre-Heartbreakers band Mudcrutch, a number of wealthy Rock icons will attempt to similarly exploit the reunion trend: Bono’s Instant Potato Famine, Neil Young’s Folk Off, David Bowie’s Glam Cracker and Celine Dion’s heretofore unheard first Punk band Pussyfart will be among the initial wave.
• Michael Jackson will receive a Best Actor Academy Award nomination for his role in the musical remake of The Phantom of the Opera; the nomination will be rescinded when the film is discovered to be the longform remix comeback video for “The Girl Is Mine.”
• This year will mark the 25th anniversary of the Rolling Stones’ inability to find Keith Richards’ pulse.
• Kanye West’s meteoric rise will make him the new Elvis Presley. Sadly, his meteoric rise will be caloric: West will weigh 725 pounds and be buried in a piano crate. There will be speculation at his funeral that he might not have actually been dead and was buried to simply stop him from recording another album.
• David Gilmour and Roger Waters will agree to meet, but only because each has a plan to kill the other. One will be murdered and the other will be prosecuted in the surprising season finale of the new reality series, CSI: Pink Floyd.
• Speaking of which, music-based reality series will dominate the network and cable airwaves. Among the many shows slated for the year are Making the Band, Managing the Band, Stealing From the Band, The Roadie Goes on Forever, Throwing Out the Drummer, Creative Differences, Name That Van Smell, Who Wants to Be on My Solo Project?, Groupie Grope and Axl Rose Presents Let’s Make an Album by 2026.
• The major record labels will manufacture 350 total CDs in 2009 and sell 43 of them. This will be seen as an upward trend.
• To capitalize on the upward trend, majors and indies within the music industry will release thousands of digital albums by new and established artists, refuse to promote or publicize them, neglect to return calls inquiring about interview availabilities and then whine unceasingly about declining sales. Wait, that one’s left over from 2003. And 2004. And 2005. And 2006. And 2007. And last year.