The Sound of Things to Come; ANDY WELCH Looks at Who Could Be Big in Music in 2010. What Price Newcastle-Based Detroit Social Club?

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Byline: ANDY WELCH

It's that time of year for wild predictions about who and what is going to be big in the next 12 months.

In music, at least, these end-of-year lists have become more important in recent years - partly because there's more music being produced now than ever before.

Throughout 2009, a staggering 100,000 albums were made available, compared with just 25,000 during 1999. And of those 100,000, only around 225 artists (2%) sold more than 10,000 copies.

That doesn't mean you can't have a hit any more - look at the likes of Florence And The Machine, Mumford & Sons and Pixie Lott: all new UK artists, all big sellers in 2009. It's just harder to stand out from the crowd without serious backing from your label and all the marketing and PR techniques that involves.

Oddly, predicting future success has become both easier and more difficult in recent years.

There are pointers to note like the BBC Sound Of 2010, a list of artists deemed likely to succeed by a handful of industry taste-makers, and the Critics' Choice Brit Award.

The inaugural gong was given to Adele two years ago and she went on to win a clutch of Grammys, while Florence And The Machine benefited from the leg-up this year. Her album, Lungs, was a runaway success, while her festival performances were a summer highlight.

Ellie Goulding will pick up the Critics' Choice Award at the Brits in February and, as she features in the BBC's list of hopefuls for the coming year and her single Under The Sheets is playlisted on numerous radio stations, hers is a name you will hear a lot more of next year.

Originally from Hereford but now living in London, 23-year-old Ellie started playing guitar and singing when she was 15. Her sound blends a traditional acoustic singer-songwriter style with electronic flourishes courtesy of bandmate and producer Starsmith (Fin Dow-Smith).

Fans of Imogen Heap or Lykke Li will surely fall in love with Goulding's way with a melody and unconventional brand of pop.

Also likely to succeed in 2010 is Marina And The Diamonds. The name might immediately bring Florence And The Machine to mind, but don't rule Marina out just yet; the similarities kind of end there.

Marina is a musical maverick - Britney Spears would love to have her pop melodies, but at the same time the Welsh-born future star is critical of vacuous celebrity culture.

She's a fan of classical literature and hates being lumped in with other female singer songwriters just because she's a girl. If you've not heard her single Mowgli's Road, it's fantastic.

Next up is Dutch singer Esmee Denters, who became a sensation on YouTube after filming herself covering the songs of Brandy, Beyonce, One Republic and Justin Timberlake.

It was the latter, obviously Googling himself again, who spotted one of her clips and signed Esmee to his label.

She's just come off a three-week tour with N-Dubz, so has exposure in the UK and should be a big hit when her album lands in January.

And now on to something completely different - with Stornoway. …