While we all contemplate on ways the industry can reinvent itself to survive in 2009, we can also look to see which bands will help in the survival of record labels and the industry itself.
Fresh Signings: 2008 saw the signings of some less than stellar talent (Hyper Crush), but it also saw plenty of quality and talented artists receive deals from majors, some of which may have a big impact in the coming months.
Tamar is an Interscope signing with a song that could be 2009’s “Love Song” with her track “New Day”

Universal was also busy this past year and snatched up another talented female singer/songwriter in Erin McCarley who’s single “Pony (It’s Ok)” has already been featured in a Rhapsody commercial and as the year’s first iTunes free single of the week.
Atlantic should see the release of Ryan Star’s long awaited major label debut “11:59”. A great singer who can write some great hooks; I expect a single strong enough to make a splash on the Hot AC and Top 40 charts, try “Right Now”.
Virgin will see releases from power ballad rockers Adelitas Way and solid Virginia pop/punk band My Favorite Highway. Both are potential big time bands that bring a familiar sound to radio.
Trying some things that are a bit less formulaic is what I hear as a meshing of the sounds MGMT and Mickey Avalon in another Universal act (stateside) – Iglu & Hartly hoping to establish themselves with a polarizing single called “In This City” that did well in the UK and looks to do the same at Alternative here in the early part of 2009.
Some other notable signings to watch:

Cavo – WB signed these St. Louis rockers and sent them into the studio with David Bendeth to record their full length. Check out “Champagne”.
Barcelona & Paper Route  are two more Universal signings that will see releases in 2009. Check Barcelona’s first single, “It’s About Time” & Paper Route’s “Are We All Forgotten”.
Notables from Across The Pond:

Perhaps the band most likely to make a big name for themselves in the states this year is a band that has already experienced international success: The Script . Check singles like “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” & “Breakeven” as well as former iTunes free single of the week, “Before the Worst”.
Glasvegas – one of the bigger UK buzz bands these days is Glasvegas. Their first single “Geraldine” will help get them noticed stateside in the new year.
Alphabeat – “Fascination” – innocent pop hasn’t sounded this sweet for a long time. Hopefully a North American run opening for Katy Perry can help make a name for this Danish group.
Closure in Moscow – Equal Vision could see their next Chiodos/Circa Survive type with these Australians.
What To Watch For, Who May See Deals in the New Year:
Neon Trees – Utah indie rockers with lots of potential – just signed to Mercury.
Runner Runner – A band with radio friendly, surefire hits can’t stay unsigned for too much longer – check “So Obvious” & “Believe”.
Settings – one of the most talked about unsigned bands of 2008 may get their chance at emo/synth rock glory in 2009.
Middle Class Rut – Sacramento 2-piece who may make a name for themselves in the UK before they do so here.
You, Me & Everyone We Know – a Warped Tour spot away from being well known.
Dizzy Balloon – Young, bay area pop/rockers with a knack for head-bobbin’ melodies. Won Live 105’s Not So Silent Night local band competition in December and opened the big winter concert at Oracle Arena, check “Raise a Glass”.
Also See: Holiday Parade & TV/TV

2009 will certainly see its share of hits and misses from the majors and indies alike, and everyone’s crystal ball will see a different set of breakout artists.

Soundcheck is written by Dallas Osborn who currently attends San Francisco State University and works on the Live 105 (KITS) Action Team.

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