A decade ago it was nearly impossible for independent musicians and artist managers to find free resources to help them navigate the music business and develop a healthy music career. Now, the internet is flooded with self-proclaimed “gurus,” talking heads, marketers, former managers, musicians and everyone else who knows how to post a blog or distribute a podcast. The modern music industry is anything but a straight line. It can be challenging to weed through all the nonsense to get through to the Gold.
Here are some great music industry podcasts that anyone in the music industry could gain some serious value from:
The 2021 Webby Award winning show for Best Music Podcast brought to you by the team at Ari’s Take. The host of this weekly podcast, Ari Herstand is the author of the best-selling book How To Make It in the New Music Business. He interviews some of the brightest minds in the business discussing music marketing, booking and touring, TikTok, TikTok, TikTok, sync licensing, artist management, music rights, registration and royalties, record labels, and the creative process. As an indie artist first, it’s refreshing to hear questions framed from this perspective. Of all the music business podcasts out there, make sure you start with this one.
Andy Grammer on Songwriting, Fear and Persistence
Imogen Heap is Building a More Equitable Future for Musicians
Cory Wong on Vulfpeck, Freelancing and Band Leading
How To Go Viral on TikTok fro Flighthouse
VÉRITÉ on NFTs and 350 Million Streams Without a Label
Speaking of VÉRITÉ, she hosts this excellent podcast featuring some incredible artists. As a very successful independent artist herself, VÉRITÉ pulls back the curtain on the industry challenging what you think it’s like to build a life and career as a creative and sharing stories about how it actually gets done. The conversations are equally balanced between the art and the business where the guests discuss balancing living, creating their art and building a sustainable business.
Run by hit songwriter, Ross Golan, this show is all about the craft of hit songwriting. Ross interviews mostly pop songwriters who write songs for the stars. But he also has on some superstar artists like Michael Buble, Charlie XCX, Finneas, Charlie Puth, and Meghan Trainer. Nearly all of these songwriters and artists are represented by major publishing companies (and labels), so their perspective sometimes seems a little detached from the independent music community. But nonetheless, these are all very fascinating conversations and a must-listen for any aspiring (or seasoned) pop songwriter.
Continuing in the pop discussion, Switched on Pop is the highest production of the bunch. Hosted by songwriter Charlie Harding and musicologist Nate Sloan, these two break down hit songs of the moment and discuss why they work. Every episode brings a nice history lesson (with musical references interspersed) and once in a while they touch on the business of music as well.
Pop’s Worst Kept Secret ft. Emily Warren
Tai Verdes TikTok-ed His Way to a Brekout Hit
Robert Plant and Allison Kraus Raise the Roof
Why Olivia Rodrigo Keeps Giving Up Songwriting Credits
Why Do New Christmas Songs Fail
And now for the complete opposite end of pop. The Third Story is hosted by Grammy AND Oscar award winning producer, composer, jazz drummer, and session musician Leo Sidran. In these long-form conversations, Leo interviews mostly musicians about their process and career. As a session musician himself, many of the interviews focus on this subset of musician and the conversations are framed from that point of view. Not every guest you’ll be familiar with, but every episode is a must-listen. Leo’s curiosity, creativity and breadth of knowledge make each interview compelling and enlightening.
It’s no secret that navigating the music industry as a woman is quite different from navigating it as a male. In this show, singer/songwriter and music business professional, Bree Noble, trades off between solo episodes where she gives tips and tricks to women on how to navigate the industry and episodes with other music industry professionals – mostly women – on topics ranging from mindset shifts, music marketing, understanding your worth, booking & touring, and branding strategies.
Making Space At The Table For Women In The Music Industry with Maggie Rose
How To Find a Producer for Your Next Music Release with Emily Satterlee from ItyDity
How To Get Superfans To Support Your Music Career with Alarke
Financial Planning For Musicians: Cash Flow, Tax Deductions, Retirement with Lindy Venustrus
This show is our one and only European show to make the list. Hosted by Tim Ingam, the founder of the wildly popular music industry news site: www.musicbusinessworldwide.com. The episodes feature “Talking Trends” which is where Tim discusses the news of the moment and “The MBW Podcast” which features interviews with music industry personnel. The episodes are shorter than most podcasts (usually under 20 minutes). Unlike most of the other shows on this list, this isn’t the show to binge from years past, necessarily. The topics are quite timely (especially the “Talking Trends” episodes) and become outdated fairly quickly. That being said, it’s a great way to catch up on the busiest stories of the moment from the man who runs a widely read music industry publication.
Why Country Music Could Be THE Music Biz Story of 2022, feat. Round Hill’s Josh Gruss (Talking Trends)
Spotify vs. Songwriters (again): David Israellite, CEO, NMPA (The MBW Podcast)
Is Timbaland about to revolutionize music production (again) with Beatclub
Troy Carter, Founder Q&A: “The music industry has to change the business of music; it’s as simple as that.’
Larry Mestel, CEO Primary Wave: Bob Marley, Whitney Houston, and Spending $800 Million
8. DIY Musician
This show is run by CD Baby and hosted by longtime CD Baby employees, Kevin Breuner and Chris Robley – both musicians themselves. CD Baby, the music distribution service, has prioritized music business education as part of their marketing strategy and regularly offers educational resources and hosts annual conferences. Each episode focuses on a topic, discussed by Chris and Kevin based on their experiences and expertise being immersed in the business of DIY music distribution at CD Baby (and managing their artist projects independently). Since most episodes don’t include outside guests, the perspective can at times seem a bit narrow.
#287 The new rules for cover art
#278 10 music videos you should be making right now
#281 E-commerce 101 for Musicians
This podcast comes from music business education entrepreneur Rick Barker. Rick was Taylor Swift’s former manager when she was getting started and he had been a consultant to Scott Borchetta and Big Machine Records for many years. Rick now provides a myriad of paid programs and free resources for an independent musician looking to navigate a career in music. This show publishes 1-2 free episodes a month (there are more paid options for subscribers on Spotify) primarily interviews with people specializing in the DIY music marketing space. Occasionally, Rick hops on for a short lesson on a topic he covers in under 10 minutes.
The Importance of Growing a Real Fanbase (Interview with Jenny Powers)
Avoid This Music Scam (Video Podcast on Spotify)
His Artist Is Making Over $500,000 a Month WITHOUT A Record Label!
NFTs for Dummies (I am the Dummie:-)
One of the longest running shows on the list, topping 500 episodes, The Music Biz Weekly is co-hosted by industry vets, Michael Brandvold and Jay Gilbert. Although they both came from the ‘old’ music business, they each have their fingers on the pulse of what is new and important in the current music industry.
Ep 506: Corite Combines Distribution, Fan Funding and Marketing Into a Single Platform
Ep 504: NERVE, a New Bank for Musicians that Provides the Tools a Musician Needs
Ep 500: Charlie Davis Talks About the New Influencer Contesting Platform, Preffy
11. Song Exploder
Last, but certainly not least, Song Exploder is the brainchild of host and creator Hrishikesh Hirway. The podcast focuses on musicians taking apart their songs, piece by piece, and telling the story of how they were made and brought to life. It is an excellent listen for those wanting to get a deeper understanding behind the creative process of some of the finest musical minds in the industry such as Fleetwood Mac, Billie Eilish, U2, Metallica, Solange, Lorde, Yo-Yo Ma, The Roots, Bon Iver, and more.
Ep 215: The Shins – New Slang
Ep 150: Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way
Ep 146: Janelle Monáe – So Afraid