Sound of... is an annual BBC poll of music critics and industry figures to find the most promising new music talent. It was first conducted by the BBC News website in 2003, and is now widely covered by the corporation's online, radio and TV outlets, as well as other media. A 15-strong longlist is published each December, with a ranked shortlist and annual winner announced the following January.
Sound of 2009
More than 130 critics, editors and broadcasters took part in the Sound of 2009 survey, which was won by electro-pop singer Little Boots. For the first time, a longlist of 15 acts from the 2009 poll was published by the BBC on 5 December 2008. The other five acts on the longlist were The Big Pink, Frankmusik, Master Shortie, Mumford & Sons and The Temper Trap.
Sound of 2010
The longlist for the Sound of 2010 poll was revealed on 7 December 2009. The acts nominated were Daisy Dares You, Delphic, Devlin, The Drums, Everything Everything, Giggs, Gold Panda, Ellie Goulding, Hurts, Joy Orbison, Marina and the Diamonds, Owl City, Rox, Stornoway and Two Door Cinema Club. On 8 January 2010, Ellie Goulding was announced as the winner. She has since gone to reach No. 1 with her debut album Lights.
Sound of 2011
The longlist for the Sound of 2011 poll was revealed on 6 December 2010. The acts nominated were Anna Calvi, Clare Maguire, Daley, Esben and the Witch, Jai Paul, James Blake, Jamie Woon, Jessie J, Mona, Nero, The Naked and Famous, The Vaccines, Warpaint, Wretch 32 and Yuck. On 7 January 2011, Jessie J was announced as the winner.
Sound of 2012
The longlist for the Sound of 2012 poll was revealed on 5 December 2011. The acts nominated were ASAP Rocky, Azealia Banks, Dot Rotten, Dry The River, Flux Pavilion, Frank Ocean, Friends, Jamie N Commons, Lianne La Havas, Michael Kiwanuka, Niki & The Dove, Ren Harvieu, Skrillex, Spector and Stooshe. On 6 January 2012, Michael Kiwanuka was announced as the winner.
Sound of 2013
The longlist for the Sound of 2013 poll was revealed on 9 December 2012. The acts nominated were AlunaGeorge, A*M*E, Angel Haze, Arlissa, Chvrches, Haim, King Krule, Kodaline, Laura Mvula, Little Green Cars, Palma Violets, Peace, Savages, The Weeknd and Tom Odell. On 4 January 2013, Haim were announced as the winners on Radio 1 by Huw Stephens.
Sound of 2014
The longlist for the Sound of 2014 poll was revealed on 2 December 2013. The acts nominated were Banks, Chance the Rapper, Chlöe Howl, Ella Eyre, George Ezra, FKA twigs, Jungle, Kelela, Luke Sital-Singh, MNEK, Nick Mulvey, Royal Blood, Sam Smith, Sampha and Say Lou Lou. On 10 January 2014, Sam Smith was announced as the winner on Radio 1 by Nick Grimshaw.
Sound of 2015
The longlist for the Sound of 2015 poll was revealed on 1 December 2014. The acts nominated were George The Poet, James Bay, Kwabs, Låpsley, Novelist, Rae Morris, Raury, Shamir, Shura, Slaves, SOAK, Stormzy, Sunset Sons, Wolf Alice and Years & Years. On 9 January 2015, Years & Years were announced as the winners on Radio 1 by Huw Stephens.
It has been commented upon that the Sound of... survey, together with other polls, creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. Guardian critic Kitty Empire wrote in December 2007: "Many of us are editors commissioning, and journalists writing, our own ones-to-watch forecasts. In order not to look like idiots, we tend to tip acts with records coming out rather than some lad with a tin whistle we found on MySpace."
The same issue was again raised in 2011, upon the publication of the longlist for the Sound of 2012. The Telegraph's Joe Burgis wrote "the Sound of 2012 project faces criticism that it is too heavily weighted in favour of mainstream performers."
The head of music at BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra response to the question was "The list will inspire debate for sure, but most importantly, it will lead to discovery of artists and musicians trying to stand out from the ever-expanding crowd, and that can only be a good thing".
- "Sound of 2003". BBC. 2002-12-24. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
- "Sound of 2004". BBC. 2004-01-09. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
- "Sound of 2005". BBC. 2005-01-07. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
- "Sound of 2006". BBC. 2006-01-06. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
- "Sound of 2007". BBC. 2007-01-05. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
- "Sound of 2008". BBC. 2008-01-04. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
- Youngs, Ian (2009-01-09). "Sound of 2009". BBC. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
- "Sound of 2010". BBC. 2010-01-06.
- "Sound of 2011". BBC. 2011-01-08.
- "Sound of 2012". BBC. 2012-01-06.
- "Sound of 2013". BBC. 2013-01-04.
- "Sound of 2014". BBC. 2014-01-10.
- "Sound of 2015". BBC. 2015-01-09.
- "BBC Sound of 2009: The pundits". BBC News website. 2009-01-01. Retrieved 2009-01-01.
- "BBC Sound of 2009: The longlist". BBC News website. 2008-12-05. Retrieved 2008-12-26.
- "BBC Sound of 2010: The longlist". BBC News website. 2009-12-07. Retrieved 2010-01-08.
- Youngs, Ian (2010-01-08). "Ellie Goulding tops BBC Sound of 2010 music list". BBC News website. Retrieved 2010-01-08.
- "BBC Sound of 2011 list revealed". BBC News website. 2010-12-06.
- "BBC Sound of 2012 list revealed". DigitalSpy. 2011-12-05.
- "BBC Sound of 2013 longlist revealed". BBC News. 2012-12-09.
- "BBC Sound of 2014 longlist revealed". BBC News. 2 December 2013.
- "BBC Music Sound of 2015 longlist revealed". BBC News. 2014-12-01.
- Empire, Kitty (2007-12-07). "Tipping the sound of 2008". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-01-01.
- Burgis, Joe (2011-12-06). "BBC's Sound of 2012 list favours mainstream acts". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-11-12.