Monday 28 November 2016

The BBC Sound of 2017 Longlist

And so here we go again…. it's another game of crystal ball gazing.

Arguably the most well-known of all the new music tips lists, the annual BBC Sound of poll longlist was published a short while ago..

In case you don’t know how the list is formed, or what it's objectives are, essentially, it’s a list of new(ish) acts that a panel of impartial experts from the music industry voted for. The pundits do not pick from a predetermined list, they can vote for whoever they want, within a set of guidelines that the BBC sets out. The BBC asks the voters to nominate acts who they are personally most excited about. This is an important point - voters are not asked who they think will be big commercially, even though this is widely how the list gets reported, often even by BBC journalists themselves, The 15 acts with the most points after all the votes have been added up form the BBC Sound of 2017 longlist and the idea is that the list helps bring those acts some attention to their music. 

The Sound of website states that artists from any musical genre and any country are eligible, whether or not they’re signed. They must not have been the lead artist on a UK top 20 single or album by 30th October 2016. Featured guest vocalists are eligible. The BBC also states that the acts voted for must not already be widely known by the UK general public (e.g. member of a hit band going solo or soap star, a winner of a national talent search show such as X Factor or The Voice in the last 3 years (i.e. 2014 onwards). Pundits must not vote for their family or close friends, or any artists with whom they have any kind of commercial relationship.

This year, for the first time ever a number of international voters have been asked to participate. I don’t know the reasons for this, but certainly in past years the Sound of List has been very Brit heavy, and maybe this was an attempt to counteract this. Although if it is, as a Brit and with the BBC being a British organisation, I think that’s a bit of a shame. British new music is not breaking through to the rest of the world (or even in the UK) as it did in the past and it needs all the help it can get. 

Here at Breaking More Waves I’ve already published my own Ones to Watch list (you can see the full list of 10 by clicking here) and this year 3 of the 10 artists I selected are also on the BBC longlist (Maggie Rogers, Dave and Cabbage). I can also feel slightly smug about the fact that 2 of the 2017 list were originally on my Ones to Watch list from past years. (Rag 'N' Bone Man was selected as one of my Ones to Watch way back in 2014 for 2015 and I chose Declan McKenna a year ago as One to Watch for 2016.) 

This years list is unsurprisingly full of solo artists (it's been a trend for new music for some time) and artists that fall into the urban and grime categories make up a significant element of the list. 

Who do I think received the most votes this year and will eventually top the poll when the full results are announced in the New Year? I have absolutely no idea. Unlike the last few years when Jack Garratt, Years & Years and Sam Smith have been relatively easy bets, from my perspective it feels like there is no obvious buzz act surging ahead of the pack right now. 

Of course crystal ball gazing is total guess work. Which of this crop of 15 will still be around 5 or 10 years time and be making great work is impossible to predict. But good luck to all of these artists as their musical journeys progress. 

The BBC Sound of 2017 longlist is as follows: 

AJ Tracey
Anderson. Paak 
Declan McKenna 
Jorja Smith 
Maggie Rogers 
Nadia Rose
Rag 'n' Bone Man
Stefflon Don 
The Amazons
The Japanese House
Tom Grennan

Take a listen to one of my Ones to Watch tips, who has also made the Sound of 2017. Coming to destroy a town near you with their live mayhem. Here's Cabbage.

Cabbage - Terrorist Synthesizer

No comments: