Guardian takes it all
June 19, 2022

Abbatars changing the future of music!?

How will digital technology shape the future of live music - that's the theme of the Guardian podcast about Abba Voyage, a digital Abba tour which debuted in London last month. The production cost £140m. The Guardian’s head rock and pop critic, Alexis Petridis, and the Guardian’s deputy music editor, Laura Snapes, were there. Was it history in the making?

Sounding History is a podcast about the global history of music with a twist. Hosts, music historians Tom Irvine and Chris Smith explore sonic impacts of the extraction of resources from the Earth’s environment. Instead of narrating music history as a story about performers, composers, and works, they explore how extraction economy, and the historical processes that came with it, such as settler colonialism, enslavement, and environmental destruction made the world of sound we live in today. In the latest episode they discuss water canals and energy cables and the connection between the two. Their goal is a music history for a new era: the Anthropocene, the age of human-generated climate change.

Banksy's hip-hop rat

"Almost since it first emerged on the streets of the Bronx, audiences have expected hip-hop to express a revolutionary purpose. But perhaps this music shouldn’t have to take a political stand" - music critic Kelefa Sanneh argues in his latest Guardian podcast about the expectations from hip-hop. "Rapping often makes people self-conscious" - Sanneh points out. Reads the text version here.

A number of digital service owners – including Spotify, Apple, Amazon, and Google – are trying to cut the amount of money they pay songwriters in the US to the “lowest royalty rates in history”. The National Music Publishers’ Association, on the other side, is looking to raise the current rate up to 20% of a streaming service’s annual revenues (it's 15,1% at the time). Music Business Worldwide tries to find out whether the music streaming services can actually afford to pay artists more.

A beautiful and insightful TED talk by Hrishikesh Hirway, creator of Song Exploder, a podcast about the creative process of songwriting. He talks about how important it is to be fully engaged when listening to a song, and compares it to listening to people, giving them full attention and effort. He also plays one of his songs and goes into the construction of it. Great stuff!

Bad influence
September 25, 2021

Podcast: Music copyright has gone too far

A very interesting podcast on The Verge about music copyright and how it has supposedly gone too far with lawsuits based on similarities between songs, rather than plagiarism. "We have seen a shift where the music industry has gone from being a physical goods business to an intellectual property business. When a song starts to succeed, we see all kinds of public lawsuits and private settlements to make sure that in order to recoup on your intellectual property, which is currently earning probably negligible revenue in streaming and other places, but when there’s an opportunity for a big thing that has hit at radio or might have a big sync license in a film, yeah, you’re going to go and see if you can get a piece of it. If you look at the public record of songs which are currently under litigation, they’re only songs which are succeeding overwhelmingly".

Group confinement
September 02, 2021

Podcast: Songs recorded in prison

Dogpatch is a podcast with two funny hosts Dante Carfagna and Jon Kirby talking about music, and playing music on a theme in each episode. The last episode was about music recorded in prison, by prisoners, the big chunk of it from the 1970s. Maximum Security Prism episode features music by Location Service, Walls, Reality Index, Public-Use Guitar, Pando, Cashbox Directory, All-State Band, Bids, Culture Gaps, Concrete Reflection, Cupcake, Winston Moore, Studio Guns, Isolated Not Isolation, Rodeos, Stateville Merch Booth, and Heartsongs.

There's also beauty there
August 29, 2021

New Sounds makes a selection of music from Afghanistan


New Sounds produced a podcast with a selection of music from Afghanistan, putting a different light on the troubled nation. Among the selected are Homayun Sakhi and Quraishi with their rubâb music, folk poems of Afghani women, the Hazara tradition by Hamid Sakhizada, and adapted music from the Khorasan region by the duo Badieh. Much of the music comes from musicians who have fled the country to Europe or North America.

Brian Jones

New Spotify Original podcast 'Deathbed Confessions', covering some of the most notorious dying words throughout pop culture history, has debuted this week. The first episode covers the unsolved 1922 murder of silent film director William Desmond Taylor, who was found dead from a gunshot wound in his apartment in the Westlake neighborhood of Los Angeles. Future episodes will cover Frank Thorogood, the building contractor who claimed he murdered the Rolling Stones’ guitarist Brian Jones, who was thought to have drowned accidentally in a swimming pool; and the conspiracy surrounding CIA Agent E. Howard Hunt, who claimed, while sick, that he and several others had played a role in JFK’s assassination.

Like a darker Nick Cave song
July 08, 2021

Podcast: The Lawson family murders

"The Songs in the Key of Death podcast looks at the historic true crimes that inspired a selection of murder ballads. It combines music, true crime, history, and edge-of-your-seat storytelling". The latest episode goes into the Lawson family murders. "On Christmas Day 1929, Charlie Lawson committed the chilling act of murdering his wife and children. What’s darker is the reason why, according to some true crime authors. But are they right, and what do we know today about the rare phenomenon of familicide?".

More money - more problems, no money - no music
July 06, 2021

Podcast: The impact money has had on music-making through the centuries

The latest episode of The Listening Service podcast explores how our transactional economy underpins centuries of music-making from Notre-Dame’s patronage of the polyphonic Perotin, over Beethoven writing a symphony for £100 and Wagner losing over a million on the premiere of his operatic masterpiece The Ring cycle, to Pet Shop Boys singing about everything reduced to financial value.

The crime of being free
July 01, 2021

Podcast: The sexism of Omie Wise story

"When we talk about the sexism of murder ballads, 'Omie Wise' jumps to the forefront as one of the most prominent examples" - the Songs in the Key of Death podcast says announcing their latest episode, about the 19-century murder story. "Whether the true story involves a woman who was drowned because she became inconvenient or because she stood up to a no-good man, they both end the same way — with Naomi Wise dead, and many tales that got it wrong".

An interesting interview by the Music Journalism Insider with Courtney E. Smith, the host, writer, and co-executive producer of Songs in the Key of Death, a new podcast about murder ballads. What is it: "A historiography—it’s a storytelling podcast that examines the true crimes that inspired a murder ballad, the people who wrote the song or popularized it by singing it, and the historic times that both of those things happened in. It hopes to give listeners context around what was happening historically and when one of the most notable versions was performed. It also aims to explore how we’ve talked about these crimes in the past and what new information we have now that we should consider. Many of the songs don’t tell the real story or reflect the victim’s point of view. Giving them a voice and some life is a way to look again at a violent history".

ex-directory presents several new artists and audio-makers who are producing field recordings in order to tell stories, connect online communities and even distill entirely new, otherworldly sounds. Field Recordings is a podcast dedicated to (literally) “standing silently in fields”. There are over 240 episodes, including ASMR-like clatter of fisherman sorting clams on a Portuguese beachchirping froglets in New South Waleswaves crashing on the frozen shores of Lake Ontario and a dog dreaming in the Wirral. Sounds of The Forest is an interactive "sound map" platform with one-minute recordings from local woodland from all over the world. MycoLyco's producer connects synthesisers to giant oyster mushrooms and quartz crystals, then records their output, with sounds ranging from the gentle ambient bubbling of an amethyst playing a Eurorack to the erratic chatter of oyster mushrooms performing on a modular synth

Harlem Hellfighters

Jazz pianist Jason Moran talks to The United States of Anxiety about the life and work of James Reese Europe - American ragtime and early jazz bandleader, arranger, composer, and the leading figure on the African Americans music scene of New York City in the 1910s - and about Reese's role in the infamous 369th Infantry Regiment, also known as the Harlem Hellfighters, who crossed racial lines and brought jazz to Europe.

The twentieth century cast
June 02, 2021

A great history lesson: American folk music

#ACFM podcast shared a podcast about the history of American folk music. It looks at the communism of Woody Guthrie and the singers of the Dust Bowl era, the Vietnam protest music of Bob Dylan and the Greenwich Village scene, and the folk psychedelia of the Incredible String Band and Vashti Bunyan. The episode includes over 40 musical examples spanning a period of around 100 years.

The number of artists making $25,000 on Twitch has grown 16x since the pandemic started. For those making $50,000 or more, the median viewership is 183 fans, which makes for $274 per fan - Twitch’s VP Head of Music, Tracy Chan, said on the Trapital podcast. He also talked about how artists make money on the platform, finding 100 True Fans, and the creator economy. Chan also worked at Spotify and YouTube to build their creator platforms.

Land of the vaccinated, the home of the gigs
May 18, 2021

Live music is back - in the US

New concerts are being added on a daily basis to the touring schedule in the US, mostly by American artists, thanks to the high vaccination rate. Trapital's Dan Runcie asks, rightfully so, "will you have the energy (and money) to still attend all their shows in the post-pandemic boom?". Live Nation's CEO Michael Rapino sits down with Recode’s Peter Kafka to talk about the industry’s comeback and how he’s figured out new tricks.

"Today, Berlin is one of the premier destinations for techno music fans. People come from all over the world to party all night to the rhythmic beat of Berlin’s club scene. And this music that the city is most famous for developed in large part because of the thing the city is most infamous for: the Berlin wall, which divided the city into east and west for almost thirty years" - 99% Invisible podcast introduces its new episode about the unusual destiny of the dance capital.

The Foreign Desk podcast looks into the Eurovision Song Contest from a point of geo-politics, with a witty twist from the hosts, coming from the least-successful country. TFD asks what the dos and don’ts of using Eurovision to project your nation are, and does it really have real-world political potency? Europe’s most popular cultural event will take place in Rotterdam next week, following last year’s cancellation.

Standing progression
May 16, 2021

Podcast: The most famous chord progressions

An easy-to-listen-to and funny podcast on Stitcher about a few specific chord progressions that show up again and again in popular music. Music journalist Jennifer Gersten and comedic musician Benny Davis discuss 'The Ice Cream Changes' progression, which originated in the 1930s, and has been used by Led Zeppelin, Bonnie Taylor, Everly Brothers and many more. The 4-chord progression is the most famous of them all, used by artists ranging from Lynyrd Skynyrd to Lady Gaga, and from Bob Marley to Blink-182. Listen to the discussion below.

Talib Kweli, Yasiin Bey, and comedian Dave Chappelle have launched a new podcast, 'The Midnight Miracle', on the subscription podcast network Luminary, Complex reports. The first episode, titled “How to Inspire,” is available for free via YouTube. The hosts spoke about life between clips of the late Amy Winehouse. The second episode features Bey and Kweli’s first music as Black Star in over 20 years.

Wolfgang Amadeus Podcast
April 22, 2021

Classical music and opera podcasts have begun to flourish


Classical music has always been a natural fit for podcasting. And podcasting, it turns out, might be just as fitting for the concert hall - the New York Times argues in a recent article about classical music's bigger steps into podcasting. Next to the older ones like 'Aria Code' by Rhiannon Giddens (trained in opera, better known for her banjo playing), 'Sticky Notes' by the conductor Joshua Weilerstein, and 'On a Personal Note' about the last gathering on an ensemble before the pandemic, there are new ones breaking ground. 'Mission: Commission' follows three composers over the course of six weeks as they create short pieces. 'Trilloquy' goes outside music and into social issues. 'Beginner’s Mind' is idealistic in its premise - making a better world through music.

Music journalist Greg Cochrane and Savages drummer Fay Milton have launched a new podcast Sounds Like a Plan which aims to shine a light on the music community’s fight against the climate crisis, NME reports. Launched this month, SLAP will feature an “inspiring climate advocate from the music community" like The 1975’s manager Jamie Oborne, Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien, and Melvin Benn, director of Festival Republic, which includes Reading + Leeds, Latitude...

“Humour, optimism and positivity” are the main ideas behind Hell Bent for Metal, a new podcast about heavy metal from a gay perspective. HBFM founder and co-host Tom Dare’s hope was to be visible to other LGBTQ+ lovers of heavy music, and to offer a queer perspective that he felt was missing from a scene that is still affected by homophobia, as the Guardian reports. Titles to some of the episodes describe the content as well as the spirit of the podcast: 'Gay Satanic Love Songs', 'BDSM Gear and Black Metal', 'Horny German Werewolves', 'Anaal Nathrakh’s Adaam Ant Armograaphy', 'Between The Balls, The Wall And Me'...

Bruce Springsteen has teamed up with former American president Barack Obama for a new podcast series titled 'Renegades: Born in the USA', Reuters reports. The eight-episode series will cover a range of topics, including race, fatherhood, marriage, and the state of America. The first two episodes are available on Spotify.

The power structure
February 22, 2021

Podcast: Sexual misconduct in alternative musi‪c‬

Name3Songs podcast discusses the problem of sexual misconduct in alter music. Questions they pose: "Why sexual misconduct reoccurs at alarming rates in the music industry. What is the psychology behind this? How has this behavior been perpetrated across decades? How can this behavior be stopped and prevented? What is accountability and how do we apply it effectively?".

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