2015 has been a pretty good year for music, especially for new and emerging artists breaking onto the scene and getting people very excited. As is customary at this time of year, music publications and British institutions alike start to look ahead and think about who of those new acts could do incredible things next year. The BBC recently revealed their choices and while ours are more about our favourite acts than surefire industry megahits, the UK Blogging community today reveals our own Sound of 2016 Longlist.
As always, the poll is conducted and adjudicated by the esteemed Robin Seamer of Breaking More Waves and this year, 58 UK based blogs took part. Each voted for their three favourite acts and the top 15 of those acts comprise the Blog Sound of 2016 Longlist. To qualify for a vote any act chosen must not have had a UK top 20 single or album, either in their own right or as a named collaborator prior to 6th November 2015.
The longlist is below and after it you will find a playlist of all the artists, some voting data from Robin, some thoughts from us and a more general point about the BBC poll and the continued importance of blogging. So stick around for that.
But first the longlist.
The Blog Sound of 2016 Longlist
THE BIG MOON
THE JAPANESE HOUSE
Having been very much off the pace as far as writing and listening to new music this year is concerned, there are plenty of artists there we are not overly familiar with. Which is a good thing as last year we felt the list was too obvious and safe. This year sees much more diversity in musical style which is also, we believe, a fantastic thing. There are artists on there we are massive fans of, Aquillo, The Japanese House and Loyle Carner for example, yet only one of our votes made it onto the list.
While there is a reasonable amount of crossover with the BBC poll, five acts appear on both lists, most notable is the artist that doesn’t appear on the blog sound but who looks favourite to win the BBC poll. Jack Garratt has already been crowned BBC Introducing artist of the year and picked up the Brit’s Critic’s Choice award yet not one blog voted for him. In fact he wasn’t on the longlist last year either, having just narrowly missed out on a place in the final 15. Depending on your point of view, this could mean a number of different things.
It’s probably no surprise to learn that we lean towards the second position, with a little of the first thrown in. This isn’t just some biased “Blogs are great” spiel though, there is merit in the argument as well as some statistical evidence to back it up. For example, in recent years the blog sound has featured Wolf Alice the year before the BBC poll, and the likes of Alt-J and Bastille who didn’t feature on the BBC poll at all.
Blogs are quick to give support to artists and are often very loyal to those acts they particularly love. With the sheer volume of new music available for us to consume, we can also be very quick to find a new ‘new’ act and as such our sense of what is new is different to the majority of rest of the population. Take Aurora for example. She’s been featured on blogs a fair bit in this last year, bothered the Hype Machine chart and racked up the soundcloud plays. Yet when she was revealed as the artist on this year’s John Lewis advert the overwhelming reaction was ‘who she?’.
We live in a little bubble. A bubble of new music, of social media and of like minded people getting excited about similar things. Robin has spoken before of the difference between internet fame and real fame and he is spot on. Being a big deal on the internet (soundcloud plays, hype machine posts, twitter frenzies etc) doesn’t always equate to being a big deal as far as records and gig tickets sold. The Blog Sound Of poll, to an extent, operates within the ‘big deal on the internet’ bubble while the BBC has a more ‘is becoming a big deal in the outside world’ feel about it. Hence us occasionally featuring artists before the BBC or, in the case of (the excellent) Jack Garratt, not at all. These artists are already a big deal for us and we want them to go on and become a big deal for everyone else as well.
For the record, we fully expect to see Aurora on the BBC list next year and possibly The Japanese House as well.
Interesting stats and exciting data from the voting
The Participating Blogs
A Pocket Full Of Seeds, A World Of Music And Madness, Across The Kitchen Table, Alphabet Bands, Beat Surrender, Bratfaced LDN, Breaking More Waves, Brighton Music Blog, Buzz Unlimited, Cruel Rhythm, Chord Blossom, Daisy Digital, Dive, Details Of My Life, Dots And Dashes, Drunken Werewolf, Digital Shuffle, Echoes And Dust, Electronic Rumors, Encore Northern Island, Even The Stars, Faded Glamour, Get Into This, Get Some, God Is In The TV, I Love Pie, Just Music I Like, Kemptation, Killing Moon, Little Indie Blogs, Love Music: Love Life, Metaphorical Boat, Monkey Boxing, Music Liberation, Music Like Dirt, Music Umpire, Neon Filler, Not Many Experts, Popped Music, Pursuit Of Sound, Rave Child, Record Rewind Play, Scientists Of Sound, Some Of It Is True, Spectral Nights, Sweeping The Nation, Synth Glasgow, The Blue Walrus, The Devil Has The Best Tuna, The Electricity Club, The Evening’s Empire, The Mad Mackerel, The VPME, This Must Be Pop, Thoughts On Music, Too Many Blogs, What If I Had A Music Blog, When The Gramophone Rings