It’s that time of year when everyone is publishing lists of their musical tips for 2016, including yesterday’s announcement of the BBC Sound of 2016 longlist – chosen by a panel of experts.
Google Play is going in another direction, using its algorithms to uncover emerging stars (even if the final shortlist was decided by the traditional means of ‘humans arguing in a room’).
Admittedly some of the artists – the ubiquitous Jack Garratt for one – are also featuring in the human-curated polls. But Google Play’s Ones To Watch list (Garratt plus Frances, Clean Cut Kid, Aurora, Kali Uchis, Anne-Marie, Nao, Tink, Samm Henshaw and Vant) is based on Google Play and YouTube streams as well as social media analysis.
“I think the one thing this year’s shortlist shows is how the power and accessibility of streaming platforms allows grassroots artists to reach a wider audience from a very early stage in the career,” said Google Play’s Azi Eftekhari.
“The fact that Jack Garrett has already played a sold out show at the 2,000-capacity Shepherd’s Bush Empire and that Aurora has already had a track appear on a major TV advertising campaign is a testament to that.”