The BBC Sound of 2010 list, run by bbc.co.uk/entertainmentnews, aims to highlight the best new music.
The acts on the list were chosen by 165 UK-based tastemakers, who each named their favourite three new artists, and the 15 acts with the most votes are on the longlist.
The top five and winner will be revealed at the start of January.
The tastemakers are experts in current and new music, whose tastes and decisions are regularly reflected in the media and are capable of setting the musical agenda and influencing audiences.
Most are newspaper and magazine critics and editors, radio DJs or producers, TV presenters or producers, website editors or respected bloggers.
They include DJs such as BBC Radio 1's Zane Lowe and Nick Grimshaw, 1Xtra's Tim Westwood and Trevor Nelson, Radio 2's Mark Radcliffe and Dermot O'Leary, 6 Music's Marc Riley, Channel 4's Rick Edwards, Capital Radio's Rich Clarke and Kiss 100's Jez Welham.
NME editor Krissi Murison, Q editor Paul Rees, Later... with Jools Holland producer Alison Howe, the Daily Star's Kim Dawson, the Guardian's Paul Lester, Popjustice editor Peter Robinson and Drowned in Sound's Sean Adams were also among those taking part.
They were each asked to name their favourite three new acts, in order of preference. The criteria given to participants when choosing artists were:
- They can be performers of any description - bands, singers, MCs etc.
- They should be the best, most exciting acts, in your opinion. Please base your choices on quality, not on hype or size of record deal.
- They must not have had a UK top 20 single or album by 15 November 2009.
- They can be from any musical genre and any country.
- They must not already be famous (eg member of a hit band going solo, or soap star). No X Factor/American Idol/etc.
- New means 'new to the British public'. They may have been around for a while if you believe they are ready to step up to the next level of quality and recognition.
- You must not be related (eg relative, close friend) or have any financial or other commercial connection with your chosen acts. You must not have worked for them or on their behalf, or be planning to do so - eg PR, label, managing, promoting etc.
The top five will be ranked and revealed in reverse order in the week commencing 4 January 2010, with one act named each day until the winner is unveiled on 8 January.
Each act from the top five will be featured on the BBC News website entertainment section, while BBC 6 Music will feature the top five artists with live sessions and interviews on Lauren Laverne's show and online.
The BBC's Sound of... list is now in its eighth year. The previous winners are: Little Boots (Sound of 2009), Adele (Sound of 2008), Mika (Sound of 2007), Corinne Bailey Rae (Sound of 2006), The Bravery (Sound of 2005), Keane (Sound of 2004) and 50 Cent (Sound of 2003).
Other artists in the top five in previous years include Florence and the Machine and La Roux (Sound of 2009), Duffy and the Ting Tings (Sound of 2008), Klaxons (Sound of 2007), Bloc Party and Kaiser Chiefs (Sound of 2005) and Franz Ferdinand and Razorlight (Sound of 2004).