Electropop singer Little Boots topped the BBC's Sound of 2009 list in January. She went on to score a UK top five album Hands and her single Remedy spent a month in the top 10, while she toured the US at the invitation of blogger Perez Hilton.
Dubbed "gloom-rockers" by the NME, White Lies scored an instant number one album with the moody To Lose My Life. By the end of the year, they had been named best new band by Q magazine and best breakthrough at the Mojo Honours.
With an album of eccentric fairytales, heart-rending laments and thundering percussion, Florence and the Machine was denied a four-week run at UK number one by Michael Jackson's posthumous chart reign. Lungs was also nominated for the Mercury Music Prize.
Fourth place in the Sound of 2009 list went to Australian fantasy pop missionaries Empire Of The Sun. First single Walking On A Dream went top 10 in the UK, but they fared better at home, winning four Aria Awards including best album, single and group.
Synth duo La Roux were one of the success stories of the year. After supporting Lily Allen on tour, their debut single In For the Kill spent nine weeks camped in the UK top 10, while follow-up Bulletproof went straight to number one.
Having conquered the US at the end of 2008, Lady GaGa took over the rest of the world in 2009 - becoming as notorious for her bizarre stage outfits as for her hit records, including Just Dance and Poker Face, two of the best-selling singles of the year.
Despite a strong media presence and positive reviews for her fizzy mix of 50s doo-wop and modern girl-pop, VV Brown struggled to connect with the public. Her album limped into the charts at number 30.
Cleveland's Kid Cudi was the only rapper in the Sound of 2009 top 10. With bleak, sparse arrangements, the Kanye West collaborator scored a big hit with a club remix of the haunting Day 'n' Nite, and his album went to number four in the US.
Passion Pit proved a draw at summer festivals with their sunny disposition and euphoric choruses. Advertisers loved them, too, borrowing their songs to sell everything from credit cards to mobile phones. But the commercial breakthrough never quite came.
Unlike his female counterparts, synth pop hopeful Dan Black failed to convert hype into success in 2009. Notorious BIG's estate failed to give permission to use a sample on his most promising track Hypntz and nothing else took off, despite warm reviews.
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