Originally Posted by Fredrik In terms of modern artists, the good ones will be probably way off the mainstream
I think a lot of it can be summed up with that line.
I believe that people will want to pay for something that they find to be good and interesting.
It may not be in terms of buying a CD but paying for a subscription to an online service or iTunes etc.
The problem that I find myself in is that mainstream music is pretty boring.
With that comes the trouble of finding the non mainstream good stuff, because there is a lot of crap in non mainstream as well.
But to make things worse you often don't know about music you like since you never heard of it in the first place.
I like all kinds of music (except a couple I don't really get e.g. Death Metal
) but what gets played on the radio or TV is 98% boring stuff.
Well produced and good sound etc. but what does it matter when it's not interesting or bring something "unique".
It's like eating the same food every day, it gets boring quite fast.
Some suggestions from someone who is in agreement. You may already know these, if so, my apologies.
1. I have found HD radio an excellent source for non-mainstream material. I have discovered many blues artists on the local "The Delta" sub-station and many, many alternative rock acts on the local college radio sub-station. I don't know what's available in your area and I gather that the wide selection in my area is rare, so check-out what's on near you as a first step.
2. Amazon offers hundreds of songs for free download. I would say roughly 85% of it is not to my taste, but that still leaves me with dozens of songs that I really love collected over the past few months, songs that I never would have encountered otherwise. About half the time the songs I like hearing on the college radio station are available for free download on Amazon.
P.S. to the death metal fans, there are A LOT of free songs on Amazon. I too am turned-off by the unintelligible guttural vocals, but there are a few singers in the genre who are understandable and actually sing.
3. If you have Google play on a smartphone, the music section features a free song of the day. About half of the songs are classics such as China Girl
by David Bowie, Summer Wind
by Frank Sinatra, or It Ain't Over Til' It's Over
by Lenny Kravitz. The other half are new stuff which you probably never heard before, and about half of that appeals to me enough to download it to my phone.
4. Check if your public library offers free downloads. In my area we get three free downloads a week. I just run through samples from unknown or known performers until I find something I like. This is another good way to discover non-mainstream artists.
As you may have guessed, it is rare that I pay for a song, because my cup overfloweth with new material all the time. Amazon is especially good because new songs are put out very often. In the past two years my eclectic taste has been satisfied and even challenged more than in the previous 40+.
As for artists who will stand the test of time, definitely agree with the nomination of Jack White, who in my view is the closest thing we have to a rock and roll messiah right now. Others may include:
The Black Keys
In the "should be but probably won't be due to lack of popularity" category:
Balkan Beat Box
House of Heroes
My Morning Jacket