The music industry is constantly changing, and it can be hard to keep up. Luckily, there are a plethora of podcasts available to keep you in the loop. Whether you want to geek out over production, gain insider knowledge into the industry, or learn more about that niche artist your friend keeps harping on — there’s a podcast for that.
Besides its clever name, The New York Times’ “Popcast” appeals to listeners as a one-stop shop for hot takes on today’s biggest hits. The show’s tone is intellectual but not dry; the discussions, which cover the biggest musicians and trends in the industry, are engaging and thought-provoking. Nearly every episode spotlights one major artist, delving into their recent work and industry influence. Pop music critic Jon Caramanica and guest music journalists work together to dissect the inner workings of an artist’s latest album. Recent episodes have covered topics ranging from Kanye West’s “Donda” era to Billie Eilish’s musical evolution, breaking down the composition of today’s top performers.
Switched on Pop
Vulture’s “Switched on Pop” features an eclectic mix of discussions surrounding the ever-expanding music industry. From reviews of summer hits and artist profiles to in-depth conversations analyzing popular songs, hosts Nate Sloan and Charlie Harding usher listeners through the ins and outs of the music world. Each episode helps situate pop music in the larger context of contemporary culture and examines the influence music has on our society. From recapping the Grammy awards to analyzing Woodstock’s influence on Coachella, “Switched on Pop” acts as a diverse symposium for all things popular music.
All Songs Considered
If you’re tired of Spotify’s pop-centric New Music Friday algorithm, give NPR’s “All Songs Considered” a listen. This podcast stays away from the hackneyed discussion surrounding pop music and directs the spotlight toward genres and artists that get less recognition. Hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton guide us through their top picks for the best new singles, albums, artists and more. Concerning themselves with quality over pop culture or trends, the series covers a wide variety of music. “All Songs Considered” is the best way to diversify and expand what you’re listening to while also staying informed on up-and-coming artists, genres and good music.
If you want to get into the inner workings of an album, head over to Spotify’s original podcast “Dissect.” Unlike the other podcasts on this list, this series only throws itself into one album per season. It focuses on one song each episode and discusses the works of artists such as Beyoncé, Tyler, the Creator, Childish Gambino and more. Its scripted style gives “Dissect” a poetic quality as the hosts glide through the lyrics and melodic motifs that appear in artists’ work. It provides a more profound understanding of an album, helping listeners appreciate it on a deeper level. “Dissect” is currently producing its ninth season, this time dissecting Mac Miller’s posthumous conceptual double album “Swimming in Circles.”
Any music production nerd will appreciate “Song Exploder,” which does exactly what the name suggests. Every other week, the series blows wide open a track and examines the ideas and production behind some of our favorite hits. Created and hosted by Hrishikesh Hirway, each episode is produced from a direct conversation with the artist, producer or member of the creative team, allowing listeners to glean information about their favorite songs directly from the source. After the artist breaks down the song’s components, listeners get to hear the song played in full to experience it in a whole new light. “Song Exploder” features a wide range of genres and artists — Cheap Trick, Phoebe Bridgers and Yo-Yo Ma are just a few of the many big names that have been on the show.
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