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Sound of 2010

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Steve Herrmann Steve Herrmann | 16:10 UK time, Tuesday, 5 January 2010

For the past few years, the entertainment team on the BBC News website has been giving us a glimpse of the future (and allowing some of us to appear cool when talking to our children) by showcasing the next generation of music stars.

It's based on a list of the best up-and-coming artists, which is compiled by asking key music critics, broadcasters and bloggers to name their favourite new acts.

Their choices are meant to be based on one thing - quality. Not hype or size of record deal or what Simon Cowell might think.

The project has grown in scale over time. First was the Sound of 2003, won by the rapper 50 Cent and with around 40 pundits taking part. This year, 165 arbiters of taste contributed tips to the Sound of 2010.

Screenshot Sound 2010

A longlist of 15 was published in December, the top five acts are being revealed all this week and it has become a much bigger project that stretches far beyond its home on the website.

One of the advantages that has come from bringing TV, radio and online together with multimedia planning and reporting has been our ability on the website to reflect the very best of the journalism from right across the BBC's broadcast outlets.

It is great to see it working the other way around too - when an idea that starts as an online project grows into something bigger.

As well as the interviews and music videos from the artists which we are running on the website, digital radio station 6 Music is on board with many of the artists in session on Lauren Laverne's mid-morning show all week, podcasts profiling each act and a show dedicated to the list on New Year's Day.

E24, the entertainment bulletin on the BBC News Channel, is running video interviews every day this week, while the winner will be on the BBC One Breakfast sofa on Friday.

The top five artists are also being interviewed by Victoria Derbyshire on 5 live, while on Radio 1 Annie Mac focused much of her Sunday night Switch show on the list, and Zane Lowe and Nihal are joining in by picking over the top five.

It all adds up to lots of exposure (and indeed expectation) for some of the most interesting emerging artists.

This kind of prediction is an inexact science, but Entertainment reporter Ian Youngs, who thought up the idea in the first place and has developed it each year, says the lesson from previous years is that this is a popular way to find out about some of the best new talent, and that if the acts are any good, they will thrive.

Over the course of this week, and then the rest of the year, you'll be able to make up your own minds about whether you like them or not.

PS If you've spotted some broken links on the BBC News website today please accept our apologies - we've been having publishing problems and we're working to fix them.

Steve Herrmann is editor of the BBC News website.


  • Comment number 1.

    I know it is dangerous to judge on one song but I presume the selections are considered the best of, rather than just being available for the website. My very humble opinion follows.

    You saved the best for last - Two Door Cinema Club - didn't you?

    I enjoyed Rox for sheer musical class, Ellie Goulding for lots of promise, Marina and the Diamonds for a great vocal, and Hurt for a very sharp song. Some of the videos were pretty cool too.

    Look forward to the BBC coverage of all the performers.

  • Comment number 2.

    Why was the closing screen on BBC News this evening (finishing at 7.00pm)showing BBC MMIX ?

    Likewise, one of the screens on here also shows BBC MMIX.....

    Are we not in 2010 therefore should be MMIX as it is on this page....

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    Their choices are meant to be based on one thing - quality. Not hype or size of record deal or what Simon Cowell might think.

    Yeah right, if you say so.

    Your lists are based on who has been signed by a decent label and will have singles out in the next four months as per usual. That's because these ar trh groups you think will be successful, not the best quality, they are different things.

  • Comment number 5.

    How about putting some upcoming metal acts on for once? Even if it's just British metal. It's not a small industry to ignore either.

  • Comment number 6.

    I have reservations about the BBC doing this. Is it really within the BBC's remit to select bands (which regardless of the rationale behind these choices is still based on arbitrary and subjective opinions) and then plug them across their TV / Radio and online channels? I'd have to ask what precisely does the BBC seek to gain from this? How does it benefit the BBC's viewers and listeners? And, mainly, why does the BBC feel that it has to set the (if you will) "musical agenda" for the coming year? The BBC should stick to reporting the news, not attempting to make it with meaningless guff like this

  • Comment number 7.

    Is it really within the BBC's remit

    Often wondered what it was, where it might be located (in writing), whether it is assessed, by whom and what, if any, the results might be?

    As to plugging, when I was involved in the music biz, 'selection' seemed pretty much based on whether the bloke you paid had 'developed' a good 'relationship' with the relevant gatekeeper chez Aunty.

    Living and/or gigging within the M25... actually Camden... helped, too.

  • Comment number 8.

    the list is a little bit too long and not that representative. maybe you can come up with a better list next time, i suppose.

  • Comment number 9.

    JunkkMale - I think it definitely should be within BBC's remit. It's an awesome intiative.. at least it provides a preview to artists some of us have never heard of and I've at least found a couple of them I'll definitely be following up on in terms of checking out gigs, new albums etc

    Ultras - with you on including at least some metal representation here.. it's sorely lacking

    Overall I think the concept rocks Steve and am looking forward to see how it evolves - keep it up!

    Craig Smith

  • Comment number 10.

    Why should we pay for a 'public service' broadcaster to do the work of the music industry. When considered alongside the ludicrous salaries paid to the likes of Jonathan Ross and world beating management at the BBC, it all adds up to a compelling case for the abolition of the license fee. Letting the BBC compete in the real world and perhaps then the management can prove their worth! I resent being compelled to prop up an organization that promotes this type of nonsense.

    How does the license payer benefit from this type of activity?

    It is also worth pointing out that as a bastion of the establishment, the BBC is hardly rock & roll! Once again they completely miss the point!

  • Comment number 11.

    The Record Industry that was once strong enough to push 50 Cents 2003 debut, Get Rich Or Die Trying, to seven million has succumbed to the Internet. Numbers like that simply don't exist anymore. Now there is a bajillion music sites on the World Wide Web which has changed the way music is marketed, distributed, sold and discussed.

    Rocking Universally
    (*)=Willie Williams/Noel Ellis/Jackie Mitoo

    why can't rome set jah children free
    babylon let it be what it must be
    so rome set jah children free now
    don't you remember down in egypt
    don't tell me you want it to be the same trip

  • Comment number 12.

    I am SO surprised that - in the country where everyone seems to fall in love with jazzpop girls (read Katie Melua & Norah Jones) - that Fredrika Stahl wasn´t picked up on the list. Judge yourself:
    Fredrika Stahl in studio

  • Comment number 13.

    Trying with at new link :) Fredrika Stahl in studio

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    It would appear that Simon Cowell has sold out and can only say things that suit the shows popularity. Of course its still working and he has to ration his harsh comments so that people are hanging on his every word. Some of the winners of the shows have not gone on to be big stars and it has watered down the audience’s belief in this system. Although they are all still enjoying their 15min of fame. They should try getting a real job like a plumber in London or a good trade that will take you through the duration of your working life. Good luck to anyone who has a go as its not easy to get up on stage. Talent will always be around its just how it’s discovered and perceived.


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