Podcasts have many functions, they can be an educational resource, a source of entertainment, or something used to simply pass the time! With 2020 being a year of isolation and uncertainty, some of the best music podcasts have embodied something much larger than this. They’ve become somewhat of a lifeline.
Podcasts have been a way to engage, convey and process such chaotic times. Whether that’s through cultural studies or musical endeavours.
We’re going to be looking at some of the best podcasts, which will help you find something to listen to.
Keep reading to find out if they suit you!
A Brief History Of Music Podcasts
Like the beginnings of most inventions, the inventor of the podcast is still up for dispute.
With that being said, in 2004, Adam Curry (an MTV Presenter), and Dave Winer (a writer and software developer), coded the program, iPodder.
It allowed them to download and listen to radio broadcasts on their iPods. Which was revolutionary for such a time.
Following this, Apple updated iTunes to support podcasts as well as music. And if that wasn’t enough, the president, George W. Bush had his weekly addresses delivered as podcasts.
As of December 2020, Apple Podcasts hosts 1.68 million podcasts. With over 41.9 million episodes published. So to say the five best music podcasts we’ve chosen are indisputably the best music podcasts of all time, would be somewhat naive and arrogant.
But, if you’re looking for some good music podcasts to delve into in this new year, this would be a good place to start!
Our Pick For The Best Music Podcasts!
So, lets just dive in!
Here are our top picks of the Best Music Podcasts of 2020!
1. ‘Perfect Sounds’ – James Acaster
This podcast is hosted by James Acaster, one of the UK’s finest stand-up comedians. He is renowned for his bold claims, which are the core of this funny music podcast.
After a breakdown in 2017, James Acaster claims to have “bought as much music that came out in the previous year as possible” to help him get through.
With this in mind, the ‘Perfect Sounds’” podcast is designed to convince you the listener and his array of weekly guests that 2016 was “the greatest year for music of all time.”
With guests like Romesh Ranganathan, Phil Wang and Sophie Duker, you are bound to laugh and find musical insights you wouldn’t have thought about.
Starting with Beyoncé and her Lemonade album, you’re quick to think that 2016 could quite possibly be a contender for the best year for music of all time.
Yet throughout the 50 episodes, you can expect the music 2016 choice to become more obscure yet just as riveting. No seriously, have you ever wondered what Eurosceptic hip-hop is? Or Electronic Mexican Folk?
Better yet, do you enjoy such genres and wonder what others think of it? Specifically two highly regarded comedians? Well, this podcast is for you!
2. ‘About The Players’ – Kojo Samuel
Kojo Samuel’s, ‘About The Players’ podcast is not one to miss!
In such chaotic times, the music industry has taken a toll. You may have partnered with the ‘I Love Live,’ or ‘We Need Crew’ crowdfunding. But there has been a sudden loss of live industry jobs. Engineers, technicians and musicians are also in need of support.
This podcast hosts some of the music industries leading session musicians, musical directors, and industry pioneers. Kojo himself is an extraordinary musical director and keyboard player.
From the early age of 18, he began working as a freelance producer and soon after was working with numerous major label artists.
This podcast is jam-packed with insider knowledge of the music world. For the aspiring musician and producers carving their way into a hard industry. Or the music lover who is eager to know what goes on behind the scene, this podcast is for you.
With guests who have worked as icons and literal pop stars, the variety is vast. Episodes featuring the likes of Steve Barney (drummer for Jeff Beck, The Sugababes, Atomic Kittens) and Brendan Grieve (bassist for Sam Smith, producer and writer).
With 17 episodes, 17 guests, and over 18 hours’ worth of content, you are guaranteed to walk away with something you would never have before considered. Especially when thinking about the music industry and the people who make it what it is today.
3. ‘Changes’ – Annie Mac
Chances are you’ve heard of Annie Macmanus, well probably as Annie Mac. The BBC Radio 1 Presenter, Irish DJ and Writer, also hosts her podcast called ‘Changes.’
Whether from behind the mic when broadcasting, or as a DJ playing the most iconic venues and festivals. Or as a businesswoman creating festivals, conferences, and articles. Annie Mac is renowned for her relatability.
‘Changes’ is an example of her ability to engage with people from different backgrounds, interests and opinions, through their collective love of music.
With featuring artists, writers, and musicians, this podcast has both a topic and a name for everyone. There aren’t many music podcasts that can collate such names, like Tiga and Zane Lowe.
Meanwhile, the content is just as epic. It’s easy to forget that artists, writers and musicians are just human like us. Who encounter everyday issues and milestones just like us. As well as sharing interests and opinions on the same issues of today.
With this in mind, the ‘Changes’ podcast shares stories which wouldn’t have been heard or understood in the same way.
With over 16 years of experience as a DJ, she has tonnes of stories and insights that will be sure to capture you in your listening.
4. And The Writer Is – Ross Golan
Whether you’re an aspiring writer, or simply interested in how the hits of today are created, this is the podcast for you!
‘And The Writer Is,’ is a show dedicated to the people who crafted the array of tunes we listen to every day!
You probably know of Bebe Rexha, Julia Michaels, Charlie Puth and Megan Trainor. Purely because their career is built as much around their songwriting as their singing.
But what about the other featured guests working in the industry?
Like Claude Kelly who has written songs for Whitney Houston, R. Kelly, and Miley Cyrus. Or Dan Wilson, an American Singer-Songwriter, who has collaborated with Adele and Taylor Swift. Or Justin Tranter, an American Songwriter, with writing credits for artists like YUNGBLUD and Justin Bieber.
This podcast is known for its insight into composition. The featured guests and most importantly, the conversations it facilitates. Conversations with people like Jody Gerson, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group. Who is known for her extensions and signings of artists like the Bee Gees and Elton John.
I get chills just looking at this list. Yet this is just the start. With 111 episodes and exclusive guests, this podcast is unlike any other and therefore is a podcast to listen to in 2021.
5. Switched On Pop – Nate Sloan
Finally, established in 2014, with 212 episodes, the ‘Switched On Pop’ podcast has a rap podcasts and rock podcasts vibe, which follows some of the most successful music to air in this era.
Popular music is ‘music appealing to the popular taste. Including rock and pop and also soul, reggae, rap, and dance music.’ Which doesn’t narrow down the category to a specific genre or style. Rather highlights it’s ability to engage and capture the hearts of a majority.
It delves into the overall composition of tracks, looking at the lyrics and melody. And analysing them in a way that is enlightening rather than baffling.
Hosted by songwriter Charlie Harding and musicologist Nate Sloan. The podcast features some of the greatest writers and producers of our time like Oak Felder and Disclosure.
Switched on Pop expertly delves deep into current pop radio. Placing the creative output of Taylor Swift, Beyonce et al in a larger cultural and historical context. Music theory class was never this fun or addictive.
Rolling Stone. Indie Wire, puts it best, “Nate Sloan and Charlie Harding have an uncanny way of making the fleeting, unknowable parts of pop music something to be understood, not just appreciated.”
This podcast doesn’t just uncover the techniques used to write and produce a hit song. It aims to inspire, which is why I’d recommend this to any aspiring musician!
6. Dolly Parton’s America
In this acclaimed limited series by WNYC, which won a Peabody Award, host Jad Abumrad (best known as Radiolab’s co-founder) investigates Dolly Parton’s widespread allure. The 2019 nine-episode podcast delves into Parton’s life, music, and her historical, cultural, and political influence.
Exclusive interviews with the country legend provide further understanding. Interestingly, Jad’s father (Dr. Naji Abumrad) treated Parton after a 2013 car accident and became close friends with her. This friendship later inspired Parton to contribute to Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine funding.
7. BBC’s Desert Island Discs
In each episode of the long-standing BBC show, a guest “castaway” chooses eight recordings, a book, and a luxury item they’d want if marooned on a desert island. First aired in 1942, Desert Island Discs boasts over 3000 episodes featuring esteemed guests like Sir David Attenborough, Bruce Springsteen, Princess Margaret, Dame Judi Dench, Keith Richards, and notably Tom Hanks. The insightful and honest conversations highlight music’s remarkable power to evoke significant life moments.
8. All Songs Considered – Best music podcasts
Hosted by NPR veterans and self-professed “music nerds” Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton, All Songs Considered have been providing a weekly selection of fresh music since 2000. This essential podcast for staying ahead in the music world showcases new releases from both emerging and established artists, along with interviews featuring musicians from around the globe. Interestingly, both hosts are also musicians themselves: Hilton is a composer and multi-instrumentalist who created the theme for NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered, while Boilen played in a 70s psychedelic band called Tiny Desk Unit—inspiring his NPR video series’ name, Tiny Desk Concerts.
9. Dad Bod Rap Pod
If you’re a dedicated hip-hop enthusiast seeking historically-rooted discussions and camaraderie among aficionados, consider tuning into the Dad Bod Rap Pod podcast. Hosts Demone Carter, David Ma, and Nate LeBlanc are long-time hip-hop participants and fans with extensive knowledge. Their conversations with musicians and journalists or casual chats about recent releases will provide an abundance of fresh music to discover.
Best podcasts on Apple Music
Rolling Stone Music Now
Ever dreamt of secretly listening in on a renowned music magazine’s editorial meeting? Rolling Stone Music Now offers just that, as it features its writers discussing various topics. Along with expert debates on recent releases, host Brian Hiatt conducts comprehensive interviews with noteworthy musicians. If you’re eager to explore the world of music extensively, this podcast is among the best choices.
Tape Notes’ essence lies in its core concept: reuniting artists and producers to discuss remarkable projects, frequently reconnecting them after a long time. Listening to participants reminisce about memorable experiences resembles overhearing a chat between old friends. Additionally, the podcast often features exclusive content from those sessions, providing listeners with an intimate view of the creative process.
Mogul, an early prominent music narrative podcast, chronicled the life of record executive Chris Lighty, who was connected to numerous significant hip-hop movements. He managed artists like 50 Cent, LL Cool J, and Missy Elliott. After a hiatus, the podcast returned to explore another iconic tale: the emergence of Southern hip-hop and 2 Live Crew’s explicit music reaching the U.S. Supreme Court.
That Was Our Review Of The Best Music Podcasts!
Now, it’s up to you!
Whatever platform you choose, whether it’s Apple Podcasts or Spotify, these music podcasts are super accessible and well worth your time.
It would be extremely arrogant for me to say that these are unquestionably the best music podcasts!
We all have our personal preferences and that’s great. But even if you’re unsure of these shows, why not try something new?
The music podcasts in this list are inspiring for both the professional musician and the shower-singing music lover. So why not kick off this year with something to remind you of how great music really is?
Lastly, if you were inspired by this article, check out our guide on How To Start Your Own Music Podcast!