The internet has changed everything. I mean, yeah, sure, everyone gets to share their funny cat videos now, but I mean that the world has fundamentally changed in ways that we still fully haven’t felt the consequences of yet. The main function of the internet (aside from using your FairGo Casino login) is the ability to spread information anywhere across the planet almost instantaneously. Such a thing was unheard a mere twenty, or even just fifteen years ago. In ye olden days of the nineties, if I wrote a book or a song, the ONLY way to get it out to any kind of mass-market was by going through a publication or a syndicate. Only the insanely big names like Steven King could get away with selling books by the draw of their name only.
This has changed, as the internet has allowed small creators to grow massive followings without the need of a middle-man. Authors like Brandon Sanderson have their own YouTube channels where they talk about their books, answer questions from fans, and stream live reactions to fan art and in-community memes and jokes.
Meanwhile, music on platforms like YouTube is a pernicious subject. Record companies are notorious for going after even small-time creators for using songs and music in their videos. And, okay, fair enough. It sucks for little Timmy making his Minecraft videos, but Timmy never bought the rights to use AC-DC in his “intro theme”.
Nevertheless, music has managed to thrive, regardless, on YouTube. Parodies and covers, such as the work of Weird Al, were some of the earliest, but many thousands of aspiring musicians had their start on YouTube. Some even managed to explode into mainstream popularity, like Justin Beiber.
But what about the YouTubers that haven’t achieved mainstream fame? The ones that are either too niche to have very broad appeal or just simply haven’t yet rolled sixes yet on the dice of fate? So I’d like to shout a mere handful of the amazing Musicians on YouTube that you might not have heard of!
Let’s start with a classic. Dan Bull is a British rapper, best known for his songs about Video Games, which he regularly uploads to his channel. That hasn’t prevented him from making songs from a wider range of subjects, including political raps about politicians such as Donald Trump, Nigel Farage, and Jacob Reese-Mogg. He has never hidden where he’s stood on various British political issues, and if that bothers you, the music is still worth it. His style is fast and energetic, like hip-hop, and gets you really pumped no matter what it is he’s singing about. My personal favorite songs are his Dark Souls Rap, his Enderman Rap, and his Resident Evil 7 Rap.
Epic Rap Battles of History
Epic Rap Battles of History (or ERB for short) is exactly what it says on the tin. The channel, co-created by “Nice Peter” and “EpicLLOYD”, takes characters (both fictional and non-fictional) and puts them up against one another in a rap battle. The “winners” are left up to the judgment of the audience.
I was introduced to the channel several years ago when I happened to stumble across their battle between “The Doctor” from “Doctor Who” and “The Doc” from “Back to the Future”. It’s still one of my favorite fictional matchups to date, alongside “Harry Potter vs Luke Skywalker”, “Joker vs Pennywise”, and “Jack the Ripper vs Hannibal Lector.”
However, I think where the channel really shines is the rap battles between historical characters. The love and research that clearly goes into the best of these absolutely show, and is an amazing way of piquing interest in uncommon historical knowledge. In no particular order, I personally love “Winston Churchill vs Teddy Roosevelt”, “J.R.R Tolkien vs George R.R. Martin”, and “Rasputin vs Stalin”.
As an honorable mention, “Darth Vader vs Adolf Hitler” is a classic.
Stranger: “Oh, you make music? What instrument do you play?”
Device Orchestra: “…are toothbrushes an instrument?”
Compelling content on YouTube requires you to think a bit out of the box, especially given how competitive YouTube is these days (and YouTube’s own meddling making it infuriatingly more difficult for everyone).
Device Orchestra stands out from other music channels by making covers of popular songs- not in the traditional way of changing the genre or the tone, but by using things I hesitate to call instruments to recreate the melody.
I’m gonna stop beating around the bush- he uses toasters and toothbrushes, guys. By using toasters, toothbrushes, printers, and jury-rigged household appliances, this artist recreates songs by request, such as the Pokemon Theme, Darude Sandstorm, the Pirates of the Caribbean song, “He’s a Pirate”.
Most of his videos are around a minute or two in length, but if you’re interested in watching a little behind the scenes of how it all works, check out “Darth Vader’s Theme” on a toaster, where he provides a little explanation as to how the magic happens.
Device Orchestra is easily the most unique channel on this list, and the engineer inside me loves every minute of these songs.
I had a bit of an internal argument about whether or not I should include this channel on my list since it’s not specifically a music channel. Rather, it’s a collection of gaming, animation, and music, and while I personally think the music is where this channel shines the most, Will Ryan has made it very clear in a variety of vlogs that he doesn’t want to be boxed into just being a music channel. Fair enough.
Still, I really love this guy’s music, and in the end, I think that’s enough justification for the placement of the channel here regardless. DAGames has made a ton of video game songs. The style is generally rock and roll, but obviously, this varies from song to song and game to game. If I were to handpick a couple of these gaming songs, I’d recommend “Gospel of Dismay”, “Get Out”, and “Left Behind”, which are about “Bendy and the Ink Machine”, “Hello Neighbor”, and “Five Nights at Freddy’s: Sister Location” respectively.
However, this channel really breaks out in its original songs, not connected to video games. These range from more emotional, somber songs to hardcore screamo. His Iris album is a collection of such hardcore songs. My favorite originals include “Kings and Queens”, “Press Start Together”, and “I Am the Animal”.
My absolute favorite song, and one of my favorite songs of all time, even outside of YouTube, is easily “Heart of an Artist”. If I had to pick one song to recommend, this would be the one.
Remember what I said about stepping a bit out of the box? The Gregory Brothers, Michael, Andrew, Even, and Even’s wife Sarah, formed their band back in 2007, and their channel is self-described as “Country & Soul, Folk & Roll”.
I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean, but the channel takes videos of people- actors, politicians, and fellow YouTubers, and pitch-edits them into a song. You can find videos of Joe Biden singing about his Hairy Legs, Mark Zuckerberg smoking meats, or Markiplier singing about how cool space is.
One of their most popular videos, and deservedly so, is their song featuring Jacksepticeye, “Speed is Key”. To use the lingo of young whippersnappers, the song slaps.
Where do I even begin? I am a heavy metal enthusiast. Any channel that makes metal covers of songs that I like will probably manage to worm its way into my heart somehow. Out of all the channels on YouTube that do this, Johnathan Young is easily my favorite. This guy is talented. He’s got an amazing voice, and the heavy metal styles of his covers just tick every box for music that I love. Obviously, that’s a subjective measure, but everything in regards to music is subjective, so…
Johnathan Young has made public how emotionally unsatisfying these covers are compared to his originals, so I’d like to highlight the originals first. His latest album, “Starship Velociraptor”, is amazing, with high quality animations to go along with the music. “Final Frontier” is my favorite out of the album. Other original songs that I love are “Chemicals” and “Walked a Mile”.
However, his covers absolutely deserve love too. Some of these equal the original, but some genuinely improve on the original songs. Not everyone has the range or the talent to cover Disney songs and have it sound AMAZING. I recommend “Playing with the Big Boys”, “Wellerman”, and “Last Resort”.
An honorable mention is “Deliver Us”, which is a collaborative song on Caleb Hyles channel, who also participated in “Playing with the Big Boys” and a number of other Disney covers and songs.
Have a Listen!
The best part about all of these channels is that they’re… well, YouTube channels. You could be listening to their amazing songs right now, for free! What are you doing? Reading blogs? Who has time for that? Switch tabs and start jamming out, you dingus! There’s music to listen to!