20 Artists Set to Breakout in 2014…


Zella Day EP Promo Shot
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Zella Day EP Promo Shot
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Zella Day

At the end of every year, the Hype Machine posts a list of their most blogged artists. They also post a mid-year glimpse at what’s trending.

As Chromeo said at SXSW, Hype Machine is basically the Billboard of indie music. 814 quality blogs are sourced (including my own), giving a fairly accurate representation of which bands are taking off.  Banks is currently leading as the most-blogged artist of 2014.  Disclosure topped the 2013 list, and Grimes topped the 2012 list.

Hype Machine also has a “ones to watch” list, and they’ve  provided a mid-year look at it as well.  The artists in this list aren’t on the lips of every tastemaker yet, but you can almost guarantee they will be by year’s end.  These 20 artists topped Hype Machine’s most-blogged list for the first time in 2014, and haven’t released a full length album yet.  If you’re trying to figure out who the next hype-bands are then look no further.


Zella Day

I interviewed Zella at SXSW this year and watched her perform. I was completely blown away by both her personality and her live presence.


Marika Hackman



Tinashe was easily one of the most impressive live acts I saw at SXSW, just look at this photo I snapped of her.


Gorgon City

Moon Boots

Tove Lo



Fickle Friends

Ben Khan

Seinabo Sey


Yumi Zouma


Bipolar Sunshine

Alice Boman



Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @nine_u

60 Responses


    And I’ve got at least 90% of them beat when it comes to better music.
    For me it’s not a matter of time, it’s a matter of timing. @DJBHOLY

    • bigFrank

      And I’ve got chunks of guys like you in my stool. You’re all just swimming in my wake!

    • Hoodgrown

      Post your soundcloud link…

      Paul, you should just do a post where all your readers can post a link to THEIR music. I’d think that would be quite interesting.

    • rikki

      Jason….most of the above artists are Bland and not very good vocalists……your band japan soul is better then average.

      But lots of Americans grew up on real musicians with power dynamic range in their voices and guitars…..if your band sound more like this they would sell millions because no one else is doing it today


    • hippydog

      Quote “I can’t fathom what it takes to get on the radar. But I think this is as good (maybe even better imo) ”

      not bad.. I dont hear a single though ;-)

      How about this.. I would give you an almost equal chance to break into mainstream as Ari..

    • rikki

      Demaster you just proved my point EDM is for cubicle workers….but i’ve never had a cubicle job so its not my kind of music…maybe EDM is the new Muzak, try selling it to walmart shoppers dancing while filling their baskets…light airy non offensive….

  2. Anonymous

    Nina, I think you got the breakout stars list confused with the terrible band names list….

  3. Willis

    If these are artists to watch, it is no wonder why the music industry is doing poorly, or the world for that matter. 95% of these songs are the exact same format (female-fronted, computer-generated tracks that rely on beats). Dreadful. Whatever happened to actual songs that were melodic, told a tale/story and used real musicians?

    • Realist

      Couldn’t agree more. If this is what bloggers are talking about, then they’re clueless about music. No one would give the time of day to these songs if they weren’t being sung by some “hot chic”. Pathetic article and DMN should be ashamed for perpetuating this garbage.

  4. Anonymous

    When will people understand it has nothing to do with the music!

    Just because you may not like the music, doesn’t mean they won’t break out, doesn’t mean they aren’t future stars, doesn’t mean anything really.

    Success in music has so little to do with the music it isn’t even funny.

    • cmonbro

      While agree that music is only a part of the puzzle.. there is NO ONE in the top 20 who is slouching when it comes to “hit factor” or music ability.

      People may not think the songs are good but that personal preference cant do much up against the millions that do..

      • Anonymous

        And that still has little to do with music!

        Chasing trends and using stats and data to make, um, hits, does not mean it’s any good, nor does it mean it’s bad. They certainly aren’t slouching on copying and following but they are definitely slouching on originality and risk taking and rule breaking and leading, and there is nothing wrong with that. I’d do the same if i knew I’d get milions and any girl and anything i could ever want. Worrying about making good solid music and being a leader and taking risks gets you nowhere anymore anyways.

        The masses eat garbage constantly, does that mean that what they eat is food? Does that mean that what they eat is the best? No, it just means that what they eat!

        For convenience and/or because of good solid marketing and advertising.

        And there is nothing wrong with that. Some of us are so in need of money that we would toss aside all our morals and values just to get a few pennies, i mean, if KFC wanted to sponsor me then hey KFC is the greatest best food around, breaching on gourmet, a tasty family treat anyone would be lucky to feast on! Who cares if they mistreat animals and pump their food full of crap and treat their people like garbage and make vast populations sick and fat etc. etc.

        PETA sure ain’t paying me!

        No one is paying me to go hug some tree either!

        If chasing hits is where the money is, then great, let me strap on my running shoes!

        The Top 20 is the absolute best music around made by true professionals and artists leading the way into the future making history with each well placed and timed kick drum and synth hit. It comprises the best singers around with the best writers and the best producers and basically should be the only thing that exists. Everything else pales in comparison.

        • Cmonbro

          Cant help you kid….

          Do you even listen to pop music?

          • Anonymous


            You can ask Britney about me, but she probably won’t say anything, NDA’s and such. ;)

            I listen to a lot of Pop music, always have, I also make a lot of Pop music. I am not sure the exact point you were making, sorry.

            Thing is I wear most of the hats, so when it comes to talking about the business i talk about the business, uncut and raw, that means i’m wearing that hat and not just my artists hat or producers hat. If you want me just to strap on one of those hats only, then i would have to rescind pretty much every post i have made.

            It’s a PITA actually.

        • GGG

          Is that last paragraph sarcastic? Top 20 is the best music around? Bahahhaahaha. Funny how you probably can’t name more than 5 of the Top 20 from 10 months ago. The majority of songs on any given week’s Top 20 list will be forgotten about in a couple months.

  5. Cmonbro

    Tinashe will scale… RCA has spent enough money on her and she’s top 40 already…

    Banks still needs great records but capitol can make sure she gets a solid platform….

    As for the rest of them.. if they aren’t british/euro I feel sorry for em since america doesnt really have (a ton) of working class musicians that are making solid money.. (and no don’t give me keating, pope or any other fucker)

    • Nina Ulloa

      banks’s “great record” comes out in a few months, and she WILL scale.

      you’re right about tinashe.

      gorgon city is basically there also, but they’re euro.

      • Minneapolis Musician

        Gorgon City sounds like Seal revisited. I like Seal. But just sayin’

      • cmonbro

        I think Banks will do well overseas… and the Hypem crowd (you guys dont buy music though)..

        In the US mainstream… I dunno if they are ready for a white aaliyah masked as a prettier kristen stewart..

        • Nina Ulloa

          yeah, she will do well overseas

          i can only speak for me, and the people I know personally who use hypem… and we spend a ridiculous amount of money buying music and going to shows. i feel like a fair amount of hypem users do too.

          • Cmonbro

            If they did.. cats like Theophilus London, Death Grips would be selling records…

            I’m sure the lot of you go to shows but It isn’t a big enough audience.. 814 Quality blog sales doesn’t translate..

            but whatever rooting for Banks.. I would love to see the team at Capitol and Harvest break something that isn’t so top heavy a la Katy Perry or Sam Smith..

  6. Cmonbro

    Tinashe wins.. she has an actual hit and RCA’s big bank….

  7. Anonymous

    The most blogged about Artists?

    So really you mean, the Artists who sent out, mailed, emailed, bugged and bothered blogs with their music in hopes of getting a review, in many cases supplying the blog with the actual review to post, maybe sending them a free t-shirt or home baked box of cookies.

    So it might actually be that the top blogged artist is the best baker among the bunch. That or perhaps they spread their piggy bank money around to get a few bloggers to publish something, maybe they’ve bought a bunch of followers and likes and leveraged that with the blogs in hopes the blogs figure they can get a few new subscribers and readers from the artists list of fans.

    How many of all those articles are proactive legitimate genuine write ups and actual artists they really feel passionate about and like? 1% maybe? Maybe?

    Anyways, good hard work people, it does show that ya’ll are working very hard and diligently, and that is what matters most, gotta keep up perceptions now.

    • Nina Ulloa

      have you investigated hype machine? do you follow the blog scene? don’t postulate. obviously what you described does happen, especially on beatport. yes, bands and publicists chase hype machine blogs, but hypem does a fairly good job handpicking each blog to avoid skewed charts.

      i know some of their publicists, and they got me into these bands by showing me a song, convincing me to go to a live performance, having me speak to the artist, etc…

      • Anonymous

        I find hype machine clunky and largely irrelevant.

        I also do not follow the blog scene for a lot of the reasons I stated above.

        Don’t get me wrong, there are always people out there doing the good deeds, but for the most part, especially for online and blogs, it just gets saturated and over ridden with stuff like affiliate marketing does to help articles etc.

        For all we know the vast majority of these blogs are owned and oeprated by labels desperately trying to build and grow artists and trying any way to make it look organic and viral.

        Either that or their hipster blogs circulating their fav hipster band to their cronies.

        How many are honest journalists going out and proactively looking for music that interests them and then offering subjective feedback? Not many!

        Therefore its like strolling along the beach trying to find one grain of sand that I like, and that does not seem like a great utilization of my time.

        • GGG

          Blogs need new content every 5 minutes or their uniques/ads start to dry up. It’s yet another double edged sword; more acts can get more press, but hardly anyone actually gives a shit because they are 1 of 40 bands they will come across that day.

          • Anonymous

            Yeah, it’s a vicious cycle and one that becomes an inevitability.

            I love a couple of the comments below, where apparently our sort of view points, not saying yours is mine, but just generally, are thought of as assumptions and not the reality of what it’s about.

            I’m sure for the most part music blogs started out with great intentions done with honesty and transparency by music lovers looking to help find, promote and share artists/bands music.

            But like anything else on the Internet, it gets to a point where they have to fund it somehow and then every hyena out there figures they can jump on board and generate some click ad revenue or whatever other scheme they have in place, which of course clutters and over saturates the blogosphere with copy and paste and overall lazy gamed and pimped methods of research and promotion. It has become like affiliate marketing, copy and paste articles etc. or pay someone pennies to put them together, or else just sit and wait till an artist emails you their write up and then copy and paste etc., so the whole gist of the blog or article becomes nothing but utilization for something else, in most cases making money.

            I’m sure the affiliate marketing webpages are done by individuals with passion as well, passion for affiliate marketing, that doesn’t mean it’s not what it is though.

            I’m Not denying there are some honest blogs out there, but its a grain of sand in a beach of blogs that are not.

            It’s like saying that FaceBook et all don’t get quickly overloaded and saturated with wannabe artists greasing around posting backlinks and trying to shove their page or latest freestyle or whatever down everyones throat. It’s why MySpace tanked. FaceBook is different so it won’t, but you see it on SoundCloud a lot now, and it’s brutal and ineffective in the long run.

            People need to understand that when i say something i don’t mean that every blog out there is what i am saying, just that that has now become the overall reality of those platforms, just the way it is, don’t shoot the messenger here people.

  8. tippysdemise

    Thanks for posting, Nina. Discovered a couple of excellent new artists here.

    • hippydog

      Quote “Thanks for posting, Nina. Discovered a couple of excellent new artists here.”

      I popped what I could into Deezer and just finished listening to them..
      Not bad! Some great ones, (that I’m shocked they havent ‘broke’ yet), and some not-so-great-ones. and a few I hope I never get to hear again ;-)

  9. Tom

    Some of the assumptions in these comments are ridiculous; the vast majority of blogs are run by individuals with no commercial ambition in terms of ads/uniques etc, they are a passion and a hobby for people who enjoy trying to find new music.

    I think the Hype Machine is incredibly valuable in it’s world, it’s largely democratic if you were to just follow the most recently posted tracks, plus as it pulls from Soundcloud it arguably defeats the big budget label development acts who plough money into videos on YouTube, and putting them on a level with bedroom artists who upload audio to SC in a couple of minutes.

  10. rikki

    Nina: I think what the problem is we are from different generations, a lot of us were not dumbed down and we kept our independence alive. So I can listen to these artists and say this is really the Wussie generation.

    I dont hear any real soul or blues or anything resembling hardship or heartache. Nice bland cubicle workers music.

    • Anonymous


      it’s pretty true!

      Check out Chris Tittuses Neverlution if you haven’t before, he goes on about that, pretty funny.

      That being said, if wussie music and entertainment is what we get for not having to go through some bloody gnarly multi year war where millions die a brutal and agonizing death, well, i’ll take that trade off any day!

  11. DNog

    I’ve rarely been on sites with so many trolls just waiting for their chance to step up to their podium aka “the comments section” and blab about their opinions that they view as facts and jump at any chance to bash the writer or previous commenter with their personal higher browed opinion. This is literally just a post about artist that have been blogged about the most recently, getting mass attention in the blog world and “set” to breakout. There is no guarantee they will it’s just a view point with a list of 20 artist to check out if you haven’t heard of them yet. If you have you may or may not agree, if you don’t like their music, it’s irrelevant to the point. I know this is the internet and it’s expected but sooo many post on this site are slewed with know-it-all comments it’s overwhelming.
    Nina, great post..definitely haven’t heard of most of these and will check them out. Hopefully find some new jams to listen too. Thanks.

    • hippydog

      Quote “I’ve rarely been on sites with so many trolls just waiting for their chance to step up to their podium aka “the comments section” and blab about their opinions that they view as facts and jump at any chance to bash the writer or previous commenter with their personal higher browed opinion. ”

      Wow.. Either the greatest or the meanest post I have ever seen…
      Doesnt matter..
      Slow hand clap sir.. slow hand clap!

  12. Anonymous

    3 artists sure to breakout majorly anytime soon.

    Kitty Pryde
    Lil Debbie
    Matty B

    Definite major label artists.

  13. A

    Tove Lo and Gorgon City are blowing up in the UK, and Broods has to be one of my favourites so far this year (they were featured as the single of the week on iTunes a few months ago, bless).

    Prides has got to be the band I’m most excited about this year though. Synthpop trio out of Glasgow. Still relatively unknown, but fantastic and backed by Island now. Messiah is their current single but Out of the Blue is great too.

  14. Anonymous

    Hmmm. Hypem owned by Townsquare who is owned by

    Oaktree Capital Management is a global asset management firm specializing in alternative investment strategies. Oaktree emphasizes an opportunistic, value-oriented, and risk-controlled approach to investments in distressed debt, corporate debt (including high yield debt and senior loans), control investing, convertible securities, real estate and listed equities.

    Sounds like a great place for future 1%er puppets to be groomed and molded and brought up through the ranks and ran through the gauntlet to make sure they will be suitable partners to perpetuate it all.

    That being said ya’ll did turn me onto BANKS. I’m sure i heard her before but took a bit of another listen. Her producers have some good sounding stuff. Made me realize i chose the wrong thing and followed the wrong path, music ain’t for me. I wish i could go back to the days i wasn’t involved in music and was just a simple cattle grazing around with enjoyment eating different types of grass and looking up to these artists with wide eyed amazement. Now its just so blahzay, I listen to the new U2 song and find myself bored. Im too hard to impress anymore, im not even into my own stuff really, i find it lacks anything and everything. I want to be blown away again by music. Its like im looking for hte loch ness monster or something, yet this one resides in the Ocean, and the Ocean now is just filled with so many artists that theres hardly any water, and i cant seem to find anything that just blows me away anymore, its a major let down.

    How do people reclaim that? Or is it impossible? Do other artists/producers/music biz people find that happens to them as well? Or is everyone else truly blown away all the time? Or is everyone just playing the game? Doing the dance and giving the lip service?

    One look at Hypem only goes to further confirm the complete over saturation, its impossible to compete these days especially with small budgets, basically making it not worth it. Now when i look at the landscapes, music would be one of the absolute last places I would ever want to try and do anything in, theres just so many people and artists and bands and producers and everything. I fit nowhere, i have no useable skills and none of my chops are worthy or up to speed and its all basically non transferable. All the music stuff seems to hurt my resume as employers seem to think it suggests something about me, so that means im double fucked! arg.

    I just get a little overwhelmed with the amount of it, cant seem to justify putting any time or effort or money into promo at all, my lungs don’t have the capacity to shout above everyone and my bank account doesn’t have the balance to play any of those games.

    It also really leads me to believe that music is going to be just fine and makes me question my whole mindset and everything i currently believe! Piracy hasn’t hurt it at all, there’s so much music i cant even begin to search for something i might like, there is more then ever and it is everywhere with a billlion artists standing in line, its crazy, its like this never ending mountain that rises eternally to the sky, i don’t have the time or energy to try and scale all that to find a few things here and there that i might like.

    Im actually a little pissed. If i would have never made music i would still be a passionate listener and fan and basically would be feeling like a billionaire with the vast amounts of free music around, instead i had to make the stupid stuff and now i cant stand it. Dammit!

    There’s more music out there then i have ever seen before, too much for me, it actually kind of turns me off, makes me stick mostly to my own body and the catalog i’ve already built up.

    Anyways im pretty sure i have to rethink everything, i have to be wrong about everything, someone must have duped me pretty good in order to be believing the things i am believing, music looks good and healthy, more then it has ever been.

    The level and sheer gargantuan amount of competition really makes me want to take all my music down and close everything down, wow, getting embarrassed all over the place, what a disaster. Now i have it as a hobby at best, and it might be the worst hobby to have. Ugh. Music=the biggest mistake ive ever made in my whole life.

    Oh well.

    We only live once that we know about, make sure you make the right choices! My life is an example of what happens when you make all the wrong choices. You do not want to be like me and you don’t want to live like me.

    Im changing my stance, i rescind everything i have said and am formulating a new position. Music is fine, will be fine and will always be fine. Actually, it probably could use a real gutting, its like an infestation of artists and bands, it needs to be weeded out and some people move into different areas more needed, like health care and such.

    • Nina Ulloa

      hypem isn’t owned by townsquare. townsquare just doesn their ads, etc. hypem just left spinmedia, a good move imo.

    • hippydog

      Quote “How do people reclaim that? Or is it impossible? Do other artists/producers/music biz people find that happens to them as well?”

      simple answer.. yes..
      I think most people in the entertainment biz goes thru a version of it..

      Some just continue on cause its what they know, some reinvent themselves, same take a break, some leave altogether..

      The entertainment biz is a harsh mistress.. Its hard to justify the low pay and waiting for the big break if you dont have a passion for it..

      simplest thing you can do is try a different but related path and hope you can bring that passion back..

  15. Anonymous

    Anyways, no point being a sore or poor loser. I don’t deal with failure well and I apologize to everyone in the music game.

    Anyone that can make a living with music and who can garner a few fans, is a much better person then I am. I wish everyone the best of luck and hope everyone achieves their dreams and lives the life that makes them happy. They deserve it, I most certainly do not, and am having a difficult time dealing with the biggest most epic public failing I have ever experienced. The amount of embarrassment will take a few moments to get over.

    Anyways as Teddy said it is Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
    Theodore Roosevelt

    Onto the next mighty thing to try and gloriously triumph, whatever it might be.


  16. John

    Two New Zealand bands though – they’re killing it this year.

  17. Much Wow

    Wow, most of the songs sound so similar it’s not even funny anymore.