Music is very important to people in the UK. Figures show they buy more singles and albums per head than any other country in the world.
And British musicians have been some of the most creative and successful on the planet since The Beatles arrived.
The Mercury Music Prize for best album chooses its nominations every year from a wide range of the UK's musical genres. Here, BBC News Online gives an introduction to 11 of the main styles flourishing in the UK. And from rock group Coldplay to classical conductor Sir Simon Rattle, you can listen to clips of the biggest names and rising stars.
Click on a CD to find out more