Weekly survey: Which of today’s new artists will we still be talking about in 20 years?

Fame can be such an evanescent thing. Most artists come and go, lacking staying power. They suddenly get hot and then just as suddenly disappear forever.

If you need proof, go back at and look at any music awards program from five, ten or fifteen years ago. How many of those feted performers are still around? Not many.

This is the fickle nature of the music industry. Labels bet on the ability of creative types to reliably deliver top-notch material over a period of years, a risky thing. A common metric says that out of every 30 artists signed to a record deal, 20 will lose money, seven will break even and the remaining three will pay for everything.

To put it another way, the music industry works with 10-20% success rate. If that was your MLB batting average, you won’t last long in the bigs. There’s just no way to predict the longevity of any given singer or band.

Nevertheless, let’s try some prognostication. Which artists have emerged over the last 3-5 years will we be still talking about in 20 years time? That immediately disqualifies established acts like the Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Kings of Leon. I only want your picks of artists who have appeared on our radars recently.

Like who? Here are some thought starters: Arkells. Portugal. The Man. Twenty One Pilots. Imagine Dragons. Lumineers. Jade Bird. Or maybe it’s someone super brand-new you believe to be a star in the making. Lemme know your thoughts.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

13 thoughts on “Weekly survey: Which of today’s new artists will we still be talking about in 20 years?

  • March 25, 2019 at 9:50 am
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    Greta Van Fleet

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    • March 25, 2019 at 1:38 pm
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      Unfortunately i think imagine dragons will be here still. as will Ariana grande and Drake if hes new enough to count.
      I think the arkells will remain in Canadian hearts for a while now. I think Portugal the man will probably change a lot but will stick around too. The lumineers are also likely here to stay.
      On the hard rock side i hope Ghost stick around but im not sure yet. I think Nothing more still has room to climb.

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    • March 25, 2019 at 6:40 pm
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      We’ll be done talking about Greta Van Fleet in a year when their gimmick has grown tiresome.

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      • March 25, 2019 at 10:25 pm
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        Nope and no! What gimmick are you referring to? Anybody that has seen them live will agree they are carrying the torch

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        • March 25, 2019 at 10:37 pm
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          Singer can wail!

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        • March 26, 2019 at 9:38 am
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          The singer can wail!

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  • March 25, 2019 at 1:39 pm
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    Unfortunately i think imagine dragons will be here still. as will Ariana grande and Drake if hes new enough to count.
    I think the arkells will remain in Canadian hearts for a while now. I think Portugal the man will probably change a lot but will stick around too. The lumineers are also likely here to stay.
    On the hard rock side i hope Ghost stick around but im not sure yet. I think Nothing more still has room to climb.

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  • March 25, 2019 at 7:23 pm
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    I used to think Arcade Fire would become forgotten, but then Everything Now reminded me of why they’re timeless.

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  • March 25, 2019 at 9:17 pm
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    The Struts, or at least their singer. Hopefully The Lemon Twigs.

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  • March 26, 2019 at 1:07 pm
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    If The Black Crowes and Led Zeppelin had a baby, its name would be Greta Van Fleet. Here’s to The Peaceful Army! YEAH!

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  • March 26, 2019 at 2:11 pm
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    I think the Arctic Monkeys. They’ve already re-invented their sound 2-3 times, they’ve been legitimately relevant for the past decade and they have had (in my opinion) one of the best albums of the past decade with AM, and they followed it up with an awesome concept album with TBHC.

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    • March 26, 2019 at 2:13 pm
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      As a diaclaimer, I know they aren’t that new, but I think they’re new enough to be a part of the conversation. Just my thought.

      Reply

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