Listen up: 4 podcasts music lovers should check out soon
What’s between your ears? When you throw on a pair of headphones, what are you listening to? Odds are, it might be a podcast, one of the fastest growing information media in America.
It’s estimated that 57 million Americans listen to podcasts monthly, which is up 23 percent over last year. Popular binge-worthy podcasts from NPR like “This American Life,” “Radio Lab,” and “Ted Radio Hour,” as well as entertaining pop culture interview shows from Joe Rogan, Adam Carolla, Alec Baldwin, and Chris Hardwick, have all helped to prop up the podcast industry, both in quality and in ratings. With technology becoming cheaper and more user-friendly, producing and consuming podcasts are now easier than ever.
With nearly a quarter of Americans listening to podcasts on a regular basis, production levels on par with all major media outlets and podcast topics covering nearly all interests, now is time to revisit the medium. Podcasts are easy to create and they are free to download. As long as you have a computer or a smart phone, you can create and consume as much information as you want.
For music fans alone there are thousands of different podcasts featuring artist interviews, songwriting, music reviews and live shows. With so many choices out there, it can be overwhelming to find a podcast you like, so here are four to get you started.
Song Exploder does exactly what the name implies. It takes a single song and blows it apart, examining each element individually through stylish interviews with the key songwriters, taking you through the complete creation process from start to finish. In a recent episode, Academy Award winner Justin Hurwitz talked about how the music from “La La Land” came together, specifically the optimistic and melancholy “Audition,” and how they went through 1,900 piano takes before settling on the final version.
That’s Song Exploder for you — quick hits of interesting tidbits you can’t find anywhere else. Each episode is only 15-20 minutes long and features interviews with everyone from Metallica to Bjork.
Meet the Composer
Meet the Composer is similar to Song Exploder as it highlights composers, only this podcast focuses almost entirely on classical musicians. Episodes vary in length, with the longest coming in at about 60 minutes, and overlay music compositions with composer interviews. Host Nadia Sirota narrates this beautifully designed podcast, taking you deep into the minds of the best and brightest composers working today.
Soundworks Collection is for both audio and movie nerds. This podcast pairs composers with sound designers and explores how music and sound effects elevate film. Each episode focuses on a particular movie and interviews the key players on how they approached scoring the film and how they created the film’s sound effects. Soundworks interviews are sometimes heavy on technical and insider terminology, so you won’t always know what they are talking about, but this is essential listening for anyone interested in film creation and sound engineering. Listen to the interview with “Moonlight” composer Nicholas Britell.
Britell explains how he used techniques from chopped and screwed hip-hop to manipulate his classical score and underscore the emotional elements of the film.
NPR Tiny Desk Concert
This spinoff from NPR’s popular “All Songs Considered” features both audio and video podcast episodes. A wide variety of performers huddle around a — get this — tiny desk and perform strippeddown versions of their songs. All the focus is on the bands in these quick, roughly 15-minute long performances.
This podcast is updated frequently and there are about 300 easy-to-digest episodes to comb through.