21 Most Influential Musical Artists of The 21st Century

Before they were famous, all music stars were someone’s “biggest fans.” And, while some tend to deny it, they all drew inspiration from their predecessors. Only a fraction of today’s mainstream artists added something truly new and unique to their genre. So our list highlights only the ones who did. These 21 performers set the trends that defined music in the 21st century.

The music scene is nothing like it was a decade ago. From reggae to death metal, every major genre underwent a complete overhaul.

Taylor Swift is a country singer and Mickey Mouse’s head is a house music symbol. Not to mention that rock bands use more digital equipment then actual musical instruments. Meanwhile, rappers auto-tune their voices, put on makeup and prance on stage in skin-tight jeans (instead of putting on ridiculous jewelry and limp-walking on stage in bulletproof vests.)



We aren’t sure whether the industry is evolving or crumbling down. What we do know is that the artists on our list are responsible for it. And not everyone in the music business is a sell-out. There are still some true ground-breakers out there, following their own artistic vision. But it’s difficult to distinguish the originals from the followers without knowing their story.

Think you know who really shaped today’s music? Flip through the slides to find out – you’re probably in for a few big surprises!

21. The Flaming Lips

This one is predictable, but fair is fair and The Flaming Lips are a staple of modern rock music. The band is credited with developing the distinctive sound we know as “neo-psychedelic”. They integrated it into a rock album years before hipster culture made all psychedelia trendy.

Though their popularity peaked over a decade ago, the Lips retain celebrity status due to constant endorsements. Some of the memorable bands who named them as a strong influence are Bright Eyes & Grizzly Bear, Montreal, The Arcade Fire, MGMT and The Delgatos.





  1. Al April 6, 2016
  2. Dmitriy Feldman April 6, 2016
  3. Eden Perez August 6, 2017
  4. John December 14, 2018
    • James Johnson March 17, 2019
      • Khaduchi May 5, 2019

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