BBC Sound of 2011
The hotly anticipated Sound of 2011 longlist was announced this morning. Radio 1 and 1Xtra's head of music George Ergatoudis shares his thoughts on the list:
The BBC’s ‘Sound Of’ survey first emerged in 2003, the brainchild of BBC entertainment news reporter Ian Youngs. It has one purpose: to find the best up-and-coming artists to watch out for in the following year. There are many lists of hotly tipped acts, but I believe the BBC’s ‘Sound Of’ list now stands out as the definitive one, thanks to the rigor applied to its compilation and its comprehensive range of contributors including taste makers from radio, TV, newspapers, magazines and online.
Over the years it has helped music fans discover some fantastic artists and while some have disappeared without a trace there have also been notable successes including Dizzee Rascal, Keane, the Kaiser Chiefs, Plan B, Adele and Florence And The Machine, to name just a few.
Of course the future is always cloudy and the list has to be taken for what it is: a snapshot of predictions from one moment in time. In reality the job of identifying and supporting exciting new artists is never-ending and the presenters and production talent who work on the BBC’s music services (online, radio and TV) are always tirelessly seeking out the next big thing. But, as a music fan, I personally get very excited by the annual unveiling of the Sound Of list. There are always entries that I personally take issue with and of course omissions, but at least it inspires passionate debate. Music is an art form and there’s simply no way every one is going to agree, no matter how many so-called experts have been involved.
So the Sound Of list is great fun for music fans, but of course it’s a serious matter for the artists themselves. It increases the pressure of expectation, but equally it presents a brilliant opportunity to get widespread exposure. The secret is not to rush. Sure, a nod on the list is great, but my advice to artists and labels is to make sure you’re genuinely ready with the best material you can possibly deliver. Timing is everything. Rushing a project just to capitalize on the exposure is nearly always going to prove fatal in the long run.
2011 looks like another exciting year for music, with some significant changes set to shake up the whole business. At the end of the year it will be fascinating to take stock and see what has happened to the 15 talented artists who made the final long list. I wish them all the best of luck.
George Ergautoudis is the Head Of Music at BBC Radio 1 & BBC 1Xtra