A number of musician podcasts are already out there as Cherie Hu observed when tweeting for musician podcast recommendations
and receiving over 160 replies. In one way podcasts can offer a more intimate, and less exploitative, post-career paths for successful artists that one could’ve found on VH1 in the 2000s via Flavor of Love
or Rock of Love
, which perhaps offered the harshest unintentional critique of the 80s major label lifestyle. Much in the way there is a solid career path that professional athletes can take once of the playing field and entering into the local broadcast booth or national radio/TV sport commentator.
What’s odd is that there is already a platform that’s made artist focused podcast for years but never given that name…Apple Music’s Beats 1. Even though the programming is framed in the context of radio more podcast-like content could slide into Beats 1 radio and the fact there isn’t more overlap of Beats 1 with Apple’s own podcast store feels a bit like a miss opportunity while this space is so open.
Now where exactly does this leave up-and-coming artists who might be interested in building up that audience? Perhaps instead of running towards Instagram live some of that studio time could be used to express some of those same thoughts in weekly 45 minutes chunks. This isn’t a suggestion for every artist or fan base, but as there is a trend in journalism and other parts of media towards niches this feels like an possible route. Also, an example of this approach can be seen in the obsession with artist/concert merch this decade, where one’s fandom is directly analogous to whatever clothing one can potentially afford. The tier reward system that can be seen on various podcasts on Patreon show an interesting path.
Now does every band need a weekly podcasts where they talk about the news of the day? Absolutely not. Are the current ways of conceptualizing being a musician one where such programming would be feasible to integrate into the workflow being a musician? Maybe. I’m suggesting podcasts this week but more broadly I want to keep interrogating what it means to be a musician in 2019 and what is it that fans want out of people who make music but in turn can offer so much more.