“What” can be a music artist? A quick list.

In iTunes, each song has one artist. It kind of obvious, but the artist can be a lot of different things:

  • a multiinstrumentalist, singer, writer, producer, bandleader (Prince, not coincidentally nicknamed “The Artist”)
  • a singer and songwriter (David Bowie)
  • a songwriter (Bob Dylan)
  • a singer (Frank Sinatra)
  • a performer (Michael Jackson)
  • a singer-dancer (Paula Abdul)
  • a singer famous for covers (Jeff Buckley)
  • a musician (Carlos Santana)
  • a stable duo (Hall & Oates)
  • a less stable duo (Wham!)
  • a solo performer in parallel with a band career (Phil Collins/Genesis)
  • a solo performer formerly in a successful band (Peter Cetera)
  • a trio (Police)
  • a typical, stable 4-piece band (Beatles)
  • a revolving-door institution (Deep Purple)
  • an evolving band (Jefferson Airplane – Jefferson Starship – Starship)
  • a supergroup of famous musicians (Cream)
  • a tribute band (Bjorn Again)
  • a band created for a TV show (The Monkees)
  • five hand-picked ladies (Spice Girls)
  • a rapper (Jay-Z)
  • a featuring-guest rapper (Pitbull)
  • a mogul/rapper that outsources the music (how else to define Puff Daddy?)
  • a DJ (David Guetta)
  • Two guys wearing robot helmets (Daft Punk)
  • actual brothers (Bee Gees)
  • not brothers (Righteous Brothers)
  • a couple (The White Stripes)
  • two couples (ABBA)
  • a cartoon gimmick (Gorilaz)
  • a vanished mystery (Lewis)
  • a fictional creation performing in real life (Spinal Tap)
  • an actor-singer (Don Johnson)
  • a director-singer (David Lynch)
  • a movie soundtrack composer (Hans Zimmer)

In classical music there are more ways to be the artist:

  • an orchestra
  • a conductor
  • a choir
  • a composer
  • a soloist
  • a tiro, quartet etc.
  • a singer

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