How the Sound of 2011 works

The BBC Sound of 2011 list aims to highlight the most promising new music for the year ahead. The artists on the list were chosen by 161 UK-based tastemakers, who each named their favourite three new artists, with the top 15 artist making our longlist.

In early January we will reveal the top five and the Sound of 2011 winner. The tastemakers are experts in current and new music, whose tastes and decisions are regularly reflected in the media and are capable of setting the musical agenda and influencing audiences. Our panel is made up of newspaper and magazine editors and critics, producers and presenters from music radio and televison, website editors and respected bloggers. All full list of this year's tastemakers is available on our Pundits page

They panel have chosen their favourite three new acts, in order of preference. The criteria given to participants when choosing artists were:

  • Your choice can be performers of any description - bands, singers, MCs etc.
  • They should be the best, most exciting acts, in your opinion. Please base your choices on quality, not on hype or size of record deal.
  • They must not have had a UK top 20 single or album by 14 November 2010.
  • They can be from any musical genre and any country.
  • They must not already be famous (eg member of a hit band going solo, or soap star). No X Factor/American Idol/etc.
  • New means new to the general public. They may have been around for a while if you believe they are ready to step up to the next level of quality and recognition.
  • You must not be related (eg relative, close friend) or have any financial or other commercial connection with your chosen acts. You must not have worked for them or on their behalf, or be planning to do so; eg PR, label, managing, promoting etc.


The top five will be ranked and revealed in reverse order in the week commencing 3 January 2011, with one act named each day until the winner is unveiled on 7 January.

The BBC Sound of list is now in its ninth year, check out our archive section to find out more about the previous lists: Sound of: Archive

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