YouTube can be a major time suck (the video of a kitten falling asleep, anyone?), but one of the best things to come from its popularity is the discovery of some exceptional musical talent.  So many artists deserve to be on this list; today, you’ll be introduced to three, as well as some of their collaborators (amazing artists in their own right): Peter Hollens, Lindsey Stirling, and Tyler Ward.

Peter Hollens is an a cappella singer with a vast vocal range who has been known to lay down over 100 vocal tracks for one video.  He is a strong solo entertainer, but his duets are what keep this music-lover hitting the “replay” button:

Lindsey Stirling, a Mormon cross-genre violinist, brought something fresh to America’s Got Talent in 2010, but she was eliminated in the quarter-finals.  In 2011, she posted “Spontaneous Me” to YouTube – a video she created with the expertise of cinematographer Devin Graham–and things took off big-time.  Some other favorites worth checking out include:

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Tyler Ward is a difficult man to describe. His cheeky grin and boisterous personality make his covers of Taylor Swift’s “22” and Imagine Dragons’ “It’s Time” (a duet with Peter Hollens) irresistible, but he can do sweet and wistful, too: his video cover of Taylor Swift’s “Red” is beautiful. Here’s a few more to check out:

These three artists are oh-so-different, but one thing they have in common, other than being insanely talented, is that they saw the value in sharing what they loved with a wider audience and are super supportive of the growing community of artists on YouTube. Although Tyler Ward has pointed out “you can’t necessarily rely on YouTube all the time,” he also encourages aspiring musicians to get their videos out there.  Lindsey Stirling has even revealed her top tip for YouTube success.

Like the music you’ve heard so far?  Support the artists by purchasing their songs through their personal websites or iTunes,  “liking” their videos on YouTube, or next time you’re chilling with a friend, introduce them to one of the songs on your phone or laptop (Lindsey Stirling’s “Shadows” video got me hooked).

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Looking for more?  Use YouTube’s sidebar suggestions to go on a treasure hunt.  You never know what–or who!– you’ll find.

Photo credit: Rachael Tulipano