NME.COM

The Future 50: The bands, the artists, the innovators

  • Today we're counting down the Future 50, the fifty most forward-thinking people in music today. Get this week's mag for the full lowdown on all of these pioneers. In at 50 is Gaggle, a phenomenal all-girl choir. Pic: Tom Oxley

    Photo:

    Added: 03 Aug 2009

  • At 49 is Xenomania, the production duo that have redefined the notion of pop through their work with Franz, Sugababes, Girls Aloud and many, many more.

    Photo:

    Added: 03 Aug 2009

  • Invasion are at 48. If you're not familiar with them, they're the most exciting metal band you'll hear all year. And the drummer plays her drums while they're on fire. Pic: Tom Oxley

    Photo:

    Added: 03 Aug 2009

  • A kids TV show in the Future 50? It can happen, especially if said show features guest spots from everyone from Biz Markie to MGMT. It's Yo Gabba Gabba!

    Photo:

    Added: 03 Aug 2009

  • At 46 is Diesel-U-Music radio, an internet station with an exceptional music policy. Not defined by corporate cash, these guys play the music of tomorrow, today.

    Photo:

    Added: 03 Aug 2009

  • Brixton's Cooly G is at 45 in our Future 50 list. The girl manages to combine a career as a social worker and semi-pro footballer with a sideline in impeccable funky house. Pic: Tom Oxley

    Photo:

    Added: 03 Aug 2009

  • Newcastle's cinema scene is set to become the envy of the country as the city's Star And Shadow Cinema continues to go from strength to strength. The pioneering venue is in at 44.

    Photo:

    Added: 03 Aug 2009

  • Barcelona's Sonar is not just a cutting-edge festival in one of the world's greatest cities, it's also a symposium of ideas and haven for innovators. It's placed 43 in our Future 50 list.

    Photo:

    Added: 03 Aug 2009

  • If you've ever put a donk on anything, you owe it to this lot, The Blackout Crew, who are in at 42.

    Photo:

    Added: 03 Aug 2009

  • 3OH!3 split opinion like all true pioneers do. Their electro-crunk goofiness is an acquired taste, but the pair are living in the year 2525 and putting Denver on the map. They are placed at 41. Pic: Richard Johnson

    Photo:

    Added: 03 Aug 2009

  • At Number 40, Stephen McGregor spearheads Jamaica's dancehall scene. The NME Future 50 list celebrates the most forward-thinking people in music today. Get this week's magazine for a full explanation of each act and head over to the blogs to have your say on who should be in the list. Pic: Stephen M

    Photo:

    Added: 03 Aug 2009

  • Normally we'd avoid opera like the plague, but with Damon, The Knife and Tyondai from Battles dabbling, we changed our minds. Opera makes 39.

    Photo:

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • If you've ever admired Florence, The Horrors or even Gallows' sense of style, you have Aldene Johnson and Hannah Marshall to thank for their impeccable dress sense. Pic: Tom Oxley

    Photo:

    Added: 03 Aug 2009

  • Number 37 in our list goes to a video game. Project Natal is no normal video game though, it tracks your body movements via a wireless remote. So you can get fit while lost in a virtual world of bloodshedding.

    Photo:

    Added: 03 Aug 2009

  • Love her or hate her, you can't argue with those flaming breasts. Nor can you dispute the power of 'Poker Face' and the speed with which Lady GaGa shot to fame. Pic: Guy Eppel

    Photo:

    Added: 26 Jun 2009

  • Rostam Bathmanglij from Vampire Weekend has not only set a new standard for musical innovation, he also defined the word "crunk" for the OED. He ranks 35. Pic: Pieter M Van Hattem

    Photo:

    Added: 03 Aug 2009

  • 34 goes to Hyperdub, the label that gave us Burial and then dubstep and in the future Joker and 2000F. These names will mean something when you catch up with them.

    Photo:

    Added: 03 Aug 2009

  • Seb Chew is at 33. He's the A&R man that signed Klaxons, La Roux and Delphic and is therefore responsible for some of the most exciting music of the last three years. He also runs trend-setting London nightclub YoYo. Pic: PA Photos

    Photo:

    Added: 03 Aug 2009

  • Sweden the country places 32 in our Future 50 list, mostly because they have a political party there dedicated to free downloads.

    Photo:

    Added: 03 Aug 2009

  • Producer and songwriter Greg Kurstin has worked on a galaxy of great music of the last few years, from Little Boots to The Flaming Lips, Lily Allen and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. He makes 31.

    Photo:

    Added: 03 Aug 2009

  • At 30th in our Future 50 list is Beck. Much more than just a dazzling musician, Beck has turned his hand to journalism, running an indie disco, and covering entire albums in a day.

    Photo:

    Added: 22 Jan 2009

  • When MGMT wanted someone to work on their highly anticipated second album, they turned to legendary Spacemen 3 man Sonic Boom. Get this week's mag to find out why.

    Photo:

    Added: 03 Aug 2009

  • The one boy band that compels normally cynical NME staffers to drop everything and run off screaming in a glittery pink hat, Take That took stage shows to a new level this year with mechanical elephants, flame-throwers and a bundle of circus tricks. Pic: PA Photos

    Photo:

    Added: 03 Aug 2009

  • Bandstocks.com is a website label that allows fans to fund their favourite artists that have been ruthlessly dropped by their labels, like Patrick Wolf. They're at 27. Pic: Tom Oxley

    Photo:

    Added: 03 Aug 2009

  • Michachu plays with a vacuum cleaner. This alone is enough to get her at 26. Pic: Andy Whitton

    Photo:

    Added: 03 Aug 2009

  • Merok's latest signing were always going to be special, and confessed ex-rent boys Salem (at 25) are set to redefine what we know about digital noise-pop.

    Photo:

    Added: 04 Aug 2009

  • As much as we love Fieldrunners, it has nothing on iPhone app Gigababy, which basically gives you a four-track studio in your pocket. It's at 24.

    Photo:

    Added: 04 Aug 2009

  • Atlanta-based singer-songwriter and producer The Dream is set to free us all from the curse of Autotune forever. He's at 23.

    Photo:

    Added: 04 Aug 2009

  • Ray Tintori (at 22) made the video to MGMT's 'Time To Pretend', and established a name for himself as one of the most visionary directors around. Pic: Ben Rowland

    Photo:

    Added: 04 Aug 2009

  • Platform, the website for young people that's like Vice with the fangs filed down, hits number 21 in the NME Future 50 list.

    Photo:

    Added: 04 Aug 2009

  • Winners of the new band award at this year's NME Awards, The Big Pink have delivered on their early promise again and again this year at numerous live shows, which gets them in the top twenty at 20. Pic: Tom Oxley

    Photo:

    Added: 04 Aug 2009

  • If you're not a member of the Twitterari you might as well be living in 1995. Everything happens here, and the site is at 19.

    Photo:

    Added: 04 Aug 2009

  • Peter Robinson doesn't just grill music celebs week after week for NME, he also runs the nation's best - and most acerbic - pop website, Popjustice, which hits number 18. Pic: Tom Oxley

    Photo:

    Added: 04 Aug 2009

  • Mike Sniper runs a label out of Brooklyn called Captured Tracks, and reaches number 17 in our countdown of the Future 50. Pic: Lyndsey Welgo

    Photo:

    Added: 04 Aug 2009

  • While everyone loves Karen O, it's actually the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' guitarist Nick Zinner who drives the band's sound, and his decision to ditch the guitars for synths this year was one of the most forward-thinking and successful we've seen. He's at 16.

    Photo:

    Added: 04 Aug 2009

  • Norwich has historically been a joke city, thanks in large part to Alan Partridge. However, its DIY scene has resurrected the area, and it ranks 15th in our list.

    Photo:

    Added: 04 Aug 2009

  • Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox has a fine sideline in dreamy drone with his other project Atlas Sound and places 14th in our Future 50 list.

    Photo:

    Added: 04 Aug 2009

  • If you've never heard of Mattias Arrelid, that's probably fair enough. However, if you've ever spent an evening with Spotify, you'll see why he's at 13 in our list.

    Photo:

    Added: 04 Aug 2009

  • From DJ Shadow's classic 'Entroducing...' to Kasabian's 'West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum', producer Dan The Automator has contantly pushed boundaries.

    Photo:

    Added: 04 Aug 2009

  • Funded by Final Fantasy's Owen Pallett and partly run by Fucked Up's Mike Haliechuk, the Toronto-based DIY collective Blocks Recording Club is 11th in our Future 50 list. Get this week's mag to find out why.

    Photo:

    Added: 04 Aug 2009

  • This week's NME cover star is pop sensation La Roux. She's 10th in our Future 50 list, and there's a five-page feature with the best thing to come out of 'The Bill''s June Ackland in the mag. Pic: Dean Chalkley

    Photo:

    Added: 04 Aug 2009

  • Edging slightly ahead, though, is Blackpool electro minx Little Boots, who is placed at Ninth. Pic: Tom Oxley

    Photo:

    Added: 05 Aug 2009

  • VBS.TV is the video arm of Vice, responsible for the classic documentary 'Heavy Metal In Baghdad'. They're in at Eighth.

    Photo:

    Added: 05 Aug 2009

  • As if The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, and The Dead Weather weren't enough, Jack White also runs a label in Nashville called Third Man Records, churning out the kind of timeless records most labels would chew their A&R man's arm off to find. Pic: PA Photos

    Photo:

    Added: 05 Aug 2009

  • The XX are one of those few bands that can claim - accurately - that they sound like no-one else around. To find out more about them and for an interview with their beatmaster Jamie Smith, get this week's NME. Pic: Tom Oxley

    Photo:

    Added: 05 Aug 2009

  • Syrian musician Omar Souleyman has released an astonishing 500 albums since 1994. We've not heard them all but we can bet their almost all more innovative than anything The Enemy would put their name to.

    Photo:

    Added: 05 Aug 2009

  • Dizzee Rascal makes Number Four in our Future 50 list. This week's mag also celebrates those people dragging music backwards, from Pendulum to George Lamb and more.

    Photo:

    Added: 05 Aug 2009

  • Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor is third in our Future 50. His 2007 concept album 'Year Zero' was seeded in an online 'alternate reality game', and in some cases USB sticks hidden in concert venues. His latest release was priced between free and 300 dollars, and saw him revolutionise the concept of music distribution yet again.

    Photo:

    Added: 05 Aug 2009

  • The Knife are second in our list. They haven't released an album in three years, but their solo projects get them in our list anyway. Karin's Fever Ray brought us the year's best live shows, while Olof meanwhile re-imagined Charles Darwin's 'The Origin Of The Species' as an opera. Pic: Tom Oxley

    Photo:

    Added: 05 Aug 2009

  • Top spot in the NME Future 50, the definitive list of music's most forward-thinking pioneers in 2009, goes to Animal Collective. For a full feature on the band get this week's NME. Pic: Mathieu Zazzou

    Photo:

    Added: 05 Aug 2009