Polydor-signed artist Celeste has been named the winner of this year’s BBC Music Sound of 2020 poll, voted for by 170 music critics and industry figures in the UK.

The annual survey is one of the biggest boosts a new artist can get, so Music Ally has been crunching the numbers on the past decade’s winners and finalists for some hints on Celeste’s potential. We’ve used Spotify audiences, which has its drawbacks as a methodology – artists who are currently ‘on cycle’ have an advantage – but still offers some useful insights.

2014 winner Sam Smith (47.7 million monthly Spotify listeners at the time of writing), 2010’s Ellie Goulding (27.6m) and 2011’s Jessie J (14.5m) are the obvious big success stories, with 2015’s Years & Years (7m), 2013’s Haim (3.8m) and 2012’s Michael Kiwanuka (3.6m) doing respectable numbers (and in the latter’s case, considerable critical acclaim for his last two albums). 2019’s Octavian (1.8m), 2017’s Ray BLK (0.8m) and 2016’s Jack Garratt (0.7m) have smaller audiences, at this point in time anyway.

Polydor will be hoping Celeste can be more of a Sam Smith (or looking further back, 2008’s winner Adele). That said, this year’s finalists, including Easy Life, Yungblud, Joy Crookes and Inhaler, shouldn’t be too downhearted.

Among the other non-winning finalists in recent years are Billie Eilish (currently on 54.8 million Spotify listeners), Khalid (54m), Dua Lipa (45.4m), The Weeknd (44.9m) and Lewis Capaldi (35.1m).

Music Ally’s next Learn Live webinar will help you understand what’s required for artists to thrive in new international markets!

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Stuart Dredge

Music Ally's Head of Insight

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