LONDON (Reuters) - No two lists are the same, but as pop pundits gaze into their crystal balls at the start of a new decade it is single female acts who look destined for the top, at the expense of indie bands.
Emboldened by the success in 2009 of flamboyant Lady Gaga, YouTube sensation Susan Boyle and country star Taylor Swift, and the likes of Amy Winehouse and Duffy before them, women are being backed to eclipse the bands once again in 2010.
“The ‘Gaga effect’ is going to continue in the next year and you can already see more artistic, edgy female pop acts,” said Albert Schilcher, vice president of talent and music at MTV Networks International.
“Indie acts are suffering somewhat,” he told Reuters. “That’s not to say there can’t be another great indie band, but not a lot of them are being signed (by labels) at the moment,” said Schilcher, who also predicted a resurgence in dance music.
Paul Rees, editor of Q magazine, agreed.
“If you look at all the things that are being teed up by major labels, most of them are solo female artists,” he told the BBC as part of its annual poll of the “next big things” in pop chosen by over 100 industry experts.
“That’s what they’re betting their money on.”
Already on her way to international stardom is LA-based Kesha, whose debut song “TiK ToK” hit number one in the key U.S. market where it shifted 610,000 digital tracks in a single week last month, the highest weekly sum by a female artist on record.
The New York Times described the track as “a zippy and salacious celebration of late nights and mornings-after” and likened the 22-year-old to Lady Gaga, widely considered to be the biggest international breakthrough of 2009.
All eyes are now on her album “Animal” on Sony Music Entertainment’s RCA label which hit the shelves in the United States on Tuesday.
Britain’s answer to Kesha may be Ellie Goulding, who features in numerous tip lists and has already carried off the 2010 Critics’ Choice Award at the BRITs.
With a sound described by BRITs organizers
as “electro-folk-acoustic-pop,” Goulding’s debut album is due to be released in March through Universal Music’s Polydor Records.
On Friday, Goulding topped the BBC’s Sound of 2010 poll, and in second place was another female singer Marina Diamandis.
Other British female artists seen on the up include teenager Daisy Coburn (Daisy Dares You), Coco Sumner, Sting’s daughter and singer in I Blame Coco, and Roxanne Tataei (Rox). Debi Nova of Costa Rica has been likened by some to Shakira.
Few are writing off the bands, however.
The Drums is a New York quartet destined for big things, according to the NME music magazine, which called them “the most talked-about new band on planet Earth.”
MTV, which features the group in its shortlist of 10 acts to watch in 2010, said the Drums were “spearheading a curious but undeniable surf-music craze that’s currently enveloping the U.S. indie scene.”
Across the pond, Manchester trio Delphic, who blend indie with electronica, appear on several tip lists, and seem keen to distance themselves from indie music’s tired image.
They came third in the BBC poll, while Hurts, an electro duo also from Manchester, came fourth. The Drums were fifth.
On the urban music scene, both MTV and music retailer HMV are backing London rapper Tinie Tempah, who is expected to follow in the footsteps of Dizzee Rascal and Tinchy Stryder.
Other single male acts to watch in 2010 are two teenagers -- Scot Alex Gardner, likened in the press to George Michael, and Canadian teen-pop singer Justin Bieber -- and Owl City, the music project by Adam Young who has already enjoyed chart success in the United States.
Editing by Paul Casciato