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Before we find out the BBC Sound of 2019 top five, we thought it would be a good idea to speak to some experts about what to expect from the year ahead in music as a whole.

Here are some predictions of what we might see - according to a select number of recording artists, radio DJs and music journalists.

1. Diversity and inclusivity will make music more interesting - Self Esteem, musician

I don't want to be a novelty anymore

"I think female-made music will hopefully be considered as simply 'music'. I'm hopeful in thinking, for instance, that festival line-ups will become more diverse and inclusive - without waving the flag and bellowing that their USP is, 'Women make up X amount of the acts performing!' I think, surely, it will become that this isn't a thing to be praised or a woke selling-point, but more the status quo.

"If this isn't the way things are heading we stand to create a boring, less creative playing field where people continue to use women as a tool, a novelty. I want to be booked, reviewed well and respected because I am a good ARTIST."

I don't want to be a novelty anymore

2. UK rap and drill will dominate - Kenny Allstar, BBC 1Xtra DJ

Chart success for UK underground music will become more common

"2018 was an amazing year in terms of chart success for UK rap music. Dave and Fredo's Funky Friday went to No.1 and drill records like Unknown T's Homerton B and Dig Dat's Air Force reached the Top 40, with many more UK street anthems breaking into the charts.

"This will become more common in 2019, especially with albums like AJ Tracey's debut likely to do major numbers. We're also expecting big projects from the likes of Nines, Aitch and more. There's also a surge in dance-led drill music, which is taking the sting out of the stereotypes of the genre and shining it in a much funner light."

Chart success for UK underground music will become more common

3. Albums will get even longer - Charlotte Gunn, NME editor

Will Yandhi end up being Kanye's Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness? Let's hope not

"Albums will continue to get longer in 2019. In one of the last significant releases of 2018, ZAYN followed the trend of bloated releases and dropped a 27-track record - that's 1 hour and 28 minutes of Zayn Malik - much to his fans' delight.

"In this current climate, long albums do numbers and unless we see a dramatic change in the way that streaming contributes to the charts, this trend is going nowhere. Nicki Minaj, in a desperate bid to beat Travis Scott to No.1, was furiously adding tracks to her record after its release.

"Will Yandhi end up being Kanye's Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness? Let's hope not."

Will Yandhi end up being Kanye's Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness? Let's hope not

4. Music will be truly global - Joe Muggs, music journalist

If you want the newest, strangest, most vivid developments in music, look not to New York or London, but to Kinshasa or Kuala Lumpur!

"There's a big world out there. Yet for a very, very long time global pop music culture was dominated by the English-speaking music of the UK and the USA plus a couple of outliers like Ireland and Jamaica. However, we're now witnessing a revolution like nothing ever seen in the modern world. The connectivity of the internet was already making music from all over the world - not 'world music' in the sense that usually signifies traditional sounds, but modern pop - readily available. But the shift to streaming has sped this up exponentially; and in particular, huge hits in particular regions of the world will spread like wildfire.

"But this isn't just about the next Gangnam Style or Despacito, it applies all the way down into the underground. In electronic music, not only are a generation of stars rising from Siberia to Seoul, Capetown to Caracas, but labels and collectives are coming up specifically to forge international bonds. We have seen NON Worldwide, an 'African diasporic' label and community, the Chinabot imprint showcasing artists of East Asian descent, Bedouin fusing experimental electronics with the music of the Arab world, and so on.

"This diversification and hybridisation is only increasing. So if you want the newest, strangest, most vivid developments in music, look not to New York or London, but to Kinshasa or Kuala Lumpur!"

If you want the newest, strangest, most vivid developments in music, look not to New York or London, but to Kinshasa or Kuala Lumpur!

5. Concept albums will reflect uncertain times - The Anchoress, musician

We want escapism. We want to be taken on a journey. And the concept album is the audio equivalent

"I predict the return of the concept album in 2019 - a medium usually associated with mid-career bands or artists who want to obfuscate the 'self'. In this post-Brexit melange of confusion, I predict that, for a generation of rightfully angry young people, music will more so than ever be looked to to 'make it cohere' (as Ezra Pound once said). The return of the concept album signals a broader cultural shift that has seen ideas about identity become increasingly exploded or fractured.

"In 2018, we saw Janelle Monáe (with Dirty Computer) and The 1975 (with A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships) show that a huge appetite exists for conceptually-conceived collections of music that explore ideas over a longer narrative arc. If 'modernity has failed us' (as The 1975 put it) then I forecast that in 2019 we will increasingly look back to a past that served us albums like OK Computer, The Wall, Sgt. Pepper, and Ziggy Stardust, albeit in a new, more politically-tinged reincarnation.

"While we are constantly being told that we now live in an age where people consume single-serve tracks on Spotify, the demand is clearly there for a deeper connection with artists who can create a world of ideas to explore. We want escapism. We want to be taken on a journey. And the concept album is the audio equivalent."

We want escapism. We want to be taken on a journey. And the concept album is the audio equivalent

6. The music industry will be divided too - Jon Hillcock, BBC 6 Music DJ

It's perhaps even more crucial for new artists to develop creative bold images or brands to stand out

"I predict that 2019 will be defined by further division. The huge growth of streaming could herald the start of a 'second wave' of the digital revolution, whereby the industry can finally accelerate the tentative baby steps taken to repair itself since the 00s bust and generate industry revenue at a rapid rate, the likes of which hasn't been seen since the CD boom of the late-80s/90s.

"Due to the growth of major platform playlists, the market will continue to be filled with homogenised inoffensive songs and genres reductively modged together, devoid of personality, ideas or identity. This comes at a time when it's perhaps even more crucial for new artists to develop creative bold images or brands to stand out, especially to a young audience that is way more politically and socially literate than previous generations.

"At the other end of the audience spectrum a small but influential minority of listeners could well be driven away from the high-churn anonymity of these vastly popular algorithmic playlists, and pushed towards new avenues and alternative pop-up platforms, encouraging them to discover and share music outside of the mainstream.

"This increasing division could benefit DIY artists in a big way. Free of the constraints and creative wariness of major labels or playlist gatekeepers (who are traditionally slow to respond to tastemakers and niche trends) they'll develop stronger identities organically, will be more creative musically and connect in a deeper, more reciprocal way with fans. Advanced blockchain technology, whereby fans share or 'own' part of the revenue of an act, is widely anticipated."

It's perhaps even more crucial for new artists to develop creative bold images or brands to stand out

7. Independent musicians will become more entrepreneurial - Bishi, musician

Independent musicians are utilising technology to channel their vision

"In 2019, we will see the rise of the musical artist as entrepreneur. From the perspective of an independent musician, the music industry, is much like a feudal system of the 1 per cent (those who have been signed) and the 99 per cent (the independent sector). Those of us in the 99 per cent, usually have to work three or four different careers to be able to balance the costs of a music career. We have the ability to make anything artistically assisted through the digital sphere and yet many of us feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of administration involved.

"There are a number of initiatives addressing this brave new world. Independent musicians are utilising technology to channel their vision for music and passion for people to manifest ambitious projects. We are unstoppable."

Independent musicians are utilising technology to channel their vision

8. Voice command search will change music creation - Eamonn Forde, music business writer

You might not have twigged at the time, but One Direction's 2013 hit Best Song Ever was powerfully prescient

"Even though I am literally typing these words, text-based communication is on borrowed time - and that will have massive repercussions for how you next find music. No more struggling to type an artist name or song title into that tiny text bar in the app of your music streaming service of choice. With sales of smart speakers booming and virtual assistants baked into every phone, voice commands are how you will get music to play.

"This lexical upheaval will mean titles of songs and names of acts will have to be recalibrated to ensure the right key words put them at the top of the results. Spinnin' Records has already renamed its biggest playlists with this in mind to, as it puts it, 'create specific, top-of-mind branded keywords that can work as anchor points while asking a voice enabled product which music to play'.

"The next big recruitment drive at record companies will be around voice experts who can advise on how songs are created and promoted - all the way from the recording studio to the marketing teams - so as to perform best in a voice-based music world. You might not have twigged at the time, but One Direction's 2013 hit Best Song Ever was powerfully prescient - an eerie foreshadowing of what will happen.

"Don't believe me? Try this: 'Alexa - play me the best song ever.' See?"

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You might not have twigged at the time, but One Direction's 2013 hit Best Song Ever was powerfully prescient

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