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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

10 Artists That Will Still Matter in 30 Years

Posted By on Wed, Oct 10, 2012 at 10:52 AM

Yep: Odd Future.
  • Yep: Odd Future.

One of the most interesting discussions we heard at the SF MusicTech Summit yesterday was about which artists of today will still matter -- will be remembered and talked about and referred to -- in 30 years. The question was originally raised by NPR critic Ann Powers on Twitter, expanded on here, and it came up yesterday on a panel of four middle-aged white guys and one middle-aged black woman who works for a major label.

Their answers included Dave Matthews Band, the Shins, Radiohead, My Morning Jacket, and Beck. Which, ugh. Radiohead is obvious, but the rest of these predictions seem both outdated (read: old) and also a little off. Everything rests on your definition of "matter" of course -- as of 2012, various interested parties haven't yet forgotten Donnie Osmond, on one hand, or the Normal on the other. (And Powers, for what it's worth, originally just asked about pop stars.) But the spirit of the question seems to be which artists of today will have an impact that's still remembered three decades from now. Here are 10 recent artists we think will do that. It's not a complete list, but it's a start.

First, five obvious ones that aren't Radiohead:

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5. Daft Punk

Coachella '06 -- or any of the stops on the band's Alive 2007 tour -- will be remembered as one of the main events that lured a generation of young Americans into the clutches of European-style dance music. The current EDM boom is sure to fade eventually, but Daft Punk's legacy won't.

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4. Taylor Swift

Total packages like Swift don't come around that often. By 2042, the novelty of Swift's young age will have gone, but she'll be 52 years old, probably still putting out compact country-pop tunes about the latest jerk to break her heart.

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3. Kanye West

We often remember the heroes, but no one forgets the villains. Especially when their list of megahits is as long as Yeezy's.

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2. Jay-Z

From the streets to Carnegie Hall, no rapper has ascended to the mainstream consciousness of America like Jay-Z. As the assimilator-in-chief, Hova's place in history is assured.

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1. Lady Gaga

Duh. If people aren't still getting down to the "Bad Romance" video in 2042, it'll be because the oceans have drowned us all. Your kid will probably go to retro-cool Lady Gaga club nights in Shanghai, or whatever megalopolis they spend their 20s in.

And now for some less obvious predictions:

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Ian S. Port

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