A few years ago, if you asked me how I found new music, I probably would have said “recommendations from people I trust.”

YouTube logoI have begun to recognize that much like the publishing industry is changing due to an increase in independent and hybrid authors, the music industry is changing, as well. Obviously, record companies still exist and aren’t going anywhere — they still decide who gets the big record deals.

But there is a new wave of musicians who are forgoing traditional record companies and releasing music on their own, mostly on YouTube.

YouTube, for all intents and purposes, is a search engine, and searching it for music you might like is extremely easy.

Most of the musicians I have discovered start by covering other artists’ work. Some obviously are better financed — you can tell from the production quality and recording sets — than others, but no matter where they are recording, it is obvious that there are some extremely talented, “undiscovered” musicians out there.

I had my first taste while searching for YouTube artists when I stumbled across a Boyce Avenue cover when searching for a particular song. Ironically, I actually ended up liking the Boyce Avenue cover better than the original track.

That is not uncommon for me — especially with Boyce Avenue, who are on my list of top five artists I have discovered on YouTube.

Actually, Boyce Avenue are one of my favorite bands currently producing music. Once I discovered Boyce Avenue, YouTube took care of the rest.

Its algorithms quickly began popping up other artists in whom I might be interested. Some have been hits for me; others were not.

But one thing quickly became abundantly clear — the best artists are not necessarily the ones with the big record deals.

That is something I already suspected, due to the lack of anything appealing to me appearing on the Top 40 list most of the time.

The only downside to discovering this plethora of amazing musicians? A lot of them have yet to release an actual physical album, which means I have to be online in order to listen to some of my favorite artists — which usually is not a big deal, unless I am in the car.

While I still receive music recommendations from people I trust, I now find myself recommending YouTube-based musicians when asked about favorite bands just as often or more than I recommend “traditionally discovered” bands.

With that in mind, here are six YouTube-based artists I recommend (the first should come as no surprise, considering how much I just pumped them up):

Boyce Avenue

Nathan & Eva

Gardiner Sisters

Mike Massé

(I just had to link to the cover Massé made of “Kayleigh,” which actually is the song I was named after!)

Postmodern Jukebox

Christina Grimmie

I hate to end this article on a sad note, but I don’t feel like I could make a list of favorite YouTube musicians without listing Christina Grimmie.

She was a big name among YouTubers and went on to compete on “The Voice.” Tragically, Grimmie was murdered by a mentally disturbed “fan” last year after a concert. She had an immense amount of talent and there are several years worth of videos she recorded available on YouTube.

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