25 Essential Podcasts For Music Lovers

The very best music discussions, deep dives, and interviews.

best podcasts
Credit: Jon F.
best podcasts

Podcasts are more popular than ever right now. There are countless music-related podcasts out there, but all those options can be a little daunting. So we put together a collection of essential podcasts for music lovers. Whether you're new to podcasts or you're just looking for a hidden gem to make a long road trip go by a little faster, you'll find something worthwhile on this list.


disgraceland podcast

If you're a music fan who also happens to be obsessed with true crime podcasts, Disgraceland is for you. Each episode, host Jake Brennan guides listeners down the seedy back alleys of music's darkest—and most fascinating—moments of criminal activity. Suspenseful stories about Norwegian black metal murders and Tay-K's nationwide manhunt are expertly delivered in a way that'll have you hooked from the very first episode. This is one of the most well-produced, entertaining music podcasts we've ever heard.

Listen: iTunes / Spotify

On Shuffle

on shuffle podcast

It finally happened. After rolling out dozens of excellent podcasts over the last few years, the Ringer Podcast Network finally has its own music podcast. Hosted by Micah Peters, On Shuffle breaks down the biggest stories in music each week with the same kind of thoughtful, entertaining touch you'd expect from your favorite articles on The Ringer. Peters only has a few episodes under his belt at the time of this writing, but he's already shown a natural gift for podcasting and settled into a clever multi-track subject format. Plus, you never know what Ringer colleague of his will pop up and join in on the fun.

Listen: iTunes / Spotify

Déjà Vu

deja vu podcast

And The Writer Is...with Ross Golan

and the writer is podcast

There is no shortage of in-depth interviews with the pop stars who sing today's biggest hits, but you have to dig a little deeper to hear stories about the people who wrote the songs themselves. That's where And The Writer Is... with Ross Golan comes in. Sitting down with some of the most prominent songwriters in the industry, Golan guides listeners behind closed doors and uncovers fascinating stories about the people responsible for our favorite songs, while shedding light on what it's like to be a successful songwriter.

Listen: iTunes / Spotify

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The Greg Noire Show

greg noire show

It's a shame that photographers generally tend to be quiet people, because they usually have fascinating perspectives on our favorite artists. Fortunately, Greg Noire was comfortable enough behind a mic to start his own podcast. Throughout his years as one of the best music photographers around, Noire has had a front row seat to memorable concerts and backstage access to moments the rest of us never get to see. The Greg Noire Show is a thoroughly entertaining (and surprisingly funny) podcast that touches on pop culture headlines and gives a unique look at what it's like to be on the other side of the lens during iconic music moments

Listen: iTunes


dissect podcast

Dissect is a serialized podcast that dedicates each season to diving deep and breaking down every little of a single album—one song at a time. A one-man operation, host Cole Cuchna spends over 20 hours putting together each episode and hundreds of hours over the course of a season. After breaking apart Kendrick Lamar's lyrically and compositionally dense To Pimp a Butterfly, he turned his sights to Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and now he's partnered with Spotify for a third season on Frank Ocean. If you're looking for intelligent, NPR-style music analysis, Dissect is for you. You can read our interview with Cuchna about the new Frank Ocean season here.

Listen: SpotifyiTunes / Stitcher


Couch Wisdom

couch wisdom podcast

Red Bull Music Academy has accumulated a vault full of incredible lectures from two decades of workshops and music industry events. Now, they're sharing them one by one as part of a new podcast called Couch Wisdom. Featuring in-depth conversations covering all sides of the music industry, the series includes lectures from the likes of Q-Tip, Kaytranada, Alex Tumay, and Bjork. Questlove once dubbed the series "Inside The Actor's Studio for music," which is an excellent way to describe the smart, nuanced conversations that go down on the RBMA couch. If you're a music nerd looking to know more about the ins and outs of the industry, Couch Wisdom is required listening.

​Listen: iTunes / Red Bull Radio

New York Times Popcast

new york times popcast

Each week, music and culture writers at The New York Times tackle a relevant topic at the front the popular music conversation on their Popcast podcast. Music critics Jon Pareles and Jon Caramanica take the lead, guiding listeners through in-depth analysis of issues like "How Lil Uzi Vert Turned Rap Into Rock and Became a Pop Star" and "The Greatest Trick Ed Sheeran Ever Pulled Was Convincing the World He's an Underdog." Everything that makes NYT music and culture articles so great is here, but, um, you don't have to read anything.

Listen: iTunes


The Joe Budden Podcast

joe budden podcast

If you miss hearing Joe Budden's opinions about rap on Everyday Struggle, you can still catch him once a week on The Joe Budden Podcast. Alongside co-hosts Rory and Mal, Budden is more unfiltered than ever in the comfortable setting of his own podcast. The show's conversations often center around the week's hip-hop headlines (and whatever controversy Joe finds himself in at the moment) but the trio also stray into relatable tangents about politics, sports, sex, and other current events. In the mold of Budden himself, The Joe Budden Podcast is the place to go for unapologetic opinions on hip-hop music and the culture that surrounds it.

Listen: iTunes / SoundCloud / YouTube


Song Exploder

songexploder logo

Putting a magnifying glass over one song each episode and picking it apart, Song Exploder is a music nerd's dream. Host Hrishikesh Hirway stays out of the way, letting the musicians themselves break apart their songs and tell in-depth stories about how they were made. Guests range in genre and popularity—from Weezer to Flatbush Zombies—so it's a safe bet you'll find something to enjoy in the show's deep catalog of 100+ episodes.

Listen: iTunes / SoundCloud / TIDAL (for early episodes)


A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal

a waste of time with its the real

Jeff and Eric Rosenthal have been producing hip-hop sketch comedy and absurdist interviews as duo ItsTheReal since 2007, and their podcast A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal makes good on its promise to deliver "the most fun interviews in hip-hop." From the brothers' Upper West Side apartment in New York City, their relaxed conversations coax hilarious untold stories out of well-known rappers and industry insiders for one of the most entertaining hip-hop podcasts out there.

Listen: iTunes / SoundCloud


Rolling Stone Music Now

rolling stone music now

On each episode of Music Now, writers and editors from Rolling Stone magazine tackle the biggest stories in music across all genres. Sometimes that takes the form of interviews with bands like The National. Other times they use the hour to go on deep dives about new releases and hot-button topics. As a bonus, fans of rock history will enjoy occasional moments where the hosts break open the Rolling Stone vault and play archived audio like Jann Wenner's legendary 1970 interview with John Lennon.

Listen: iTunes / Stitcher

Watching the Throne: A Lyrical Analysis of Kanye West

watching the throne

If you're a Kanye West fan, ignore everything else on this list and start right here. Since July 2015, the guys at Watching The Throne have been analyzing all things Kanye in one of the most in-depth podcasts we've ever come across. On some episodes, they break down Kanye's songs line by line, providing expert commentary and analysis. Then they'll switch things up and dedicate full episodes to interviewing side characters in Kanye's universe—like the guy who runs the Kanye Bars Twitter account. Even the most hardcore Kanye West stans will learn something from this incredibly thorough podcast.

Listen: iTunesStitcher

No Jumper

no jumper

Before starting "the coolest podcast in the world," No Jumper, host Adam22 built thecomeup.com and retail store On Some Shit into staples of the BMX community. But when late night SoundCloud binges led him in the direction of hip-hop's most exciting under-the-radar rappers, he started inviting guys like Lil Yachty, XXXTENTACION, and Ugly God into a makeshift studio in the back of his bike shop for some of their earliest interviews. Now, his podcast is one of the best places for in-depth conversations with buzzing rappers, long before they pop up on the radar of mainstream outlets. Even though these interviews often mark the first time these rappers have spoken on the record, Adam's relaxed style has a way of making them comfortable, leading to consistently memorable conversations.

Listen: iTunes / YouTube

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NOT 97

not 97 podcast

"This is not a podcast. This is not a radio show. This is NOT 97," the hosts of New York-based podcast NOT 97 explain. Whatever you call it, the show dedicates each episode to uncovering under-the-radar songs from hidden corners of the internet and breaking them down through roundtable discussions. Inviting knowledgeable guests to share recent finds of their own, NOT 97 is one of the best music discovery podcasts around. The trio of hosts were even nice enough to invite a couple pigeons to join in on the fun on a recent episode. You can hear that below.

​Listen: iTunes / SoundCloud


Switched On Pop

switched on pop

On each episode of Switched On Pop, musicologist Nate Sloan and songwriter Charlie Harding focus in on topics at the center of the pop music world. Breaking down songs and trends dominating the charts, they spend each episode trying to figure out what makes these sounds so popular—giving insight on everything from the phone-inspired parallels between Adele and Drake to the rise of pitch-shifted vocals (heard below). ​

Listen: iTunes


blapchat podcast

Focusing on the music production side of the business, BlapChat is a podcast founded by !llmind that promises to "talk about everything and anything related to the music producer. New gear reviews, business advice, beat critiques and industry special guests every week." Taking advantage of his veteran experience in the game alongside co-hosts Atlas The Plug, Perfection, and GLAM, !llmind sits down with guests like Statik Selektah and Sonny Digital for informative conversations about life as a producer. While focused on hip-hop, BlapChat is a must-listen for all aspiring music producers—regardless of genre.

Listen: iTunes / SoundCloud / YouTube



showstopper spotify

One of Spotify's first original podcasts, Showstopper looks at the way music has impacted some of the biggest television shows over the years. Speaking with music supervisors from TV series like Breaking Bad and The O.C., host Naomi Zeichner (former Editor in Chief of the FADER) investigates the importance of a good soundtrack to a show's success and hears first-hand stories about how songs like Phantom Planet's "California" were immortalized as theme songs.

Listen: Spotify


All Songs Considered

all songs considered podcast

As the title suggests, All Songs Considered has the widest scope of any podcast on this list. All genres, artists, topics, songs, and eras are considered for discussion by hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton. Delivered with NPR's usual quiet, polite charm, this podcast really has something for everyone as topics range from "Kendrick Lamar, Weed, Gems, and Cigarettes After Sex" to "A Mother's Day Mix: Songs That Remind You of Mom" week to week.

​Listen: iTunes / Stitcher

The Vinyl Me Please Podcast

vinyl me please podcast

Record of the month club Vinyl, Me Please has a podcast hosted by Tyler Barstow that takes shape as a watercooler conversation centering around the most interesting stories, artists, and albums of the moment. An extension of the company's mission to "help people explore, experience, and enjoy music on a deeper level," the podcast isn't restrained by format or genre, but the passion for music from the show's host and guests is clear in every conversation. Sincere love and care for each episode's topic is always the guiding force, whether they're talking about a new record from The xx or what happened at Coachella this year.

Listen: iTunes

Kinda Neat

kinda neat podcast

Lee Shaner has been rapping under the stage name Intuition for years, giving him an edge when it comes to relating with his interview subjects on Kinda Neat. Taking a special interest in childhood and family moments with artists like Allan Kingdom, wifisfuneral, and The Internet, Shaner has intimate conversations with each guest before filming live one-take performance videos that he shares on his YouTube channel.

Listen: iTunes / YouTube

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Rap Radar Podcast

rap radar podcast

Two of hip-hop's most respected journalists Elliott Wilson and Brian "B.Dot" Miller have made a habit of breaking news surrounding the biggest names in rap on one of the genre's most popular podcasts—the Rap Radar Podcast. Wilson and Miller's decades of journalistic experience and industry knowledge shine in some of the most polished hip-hop interviews you'll come across. After a brief hiatus, they recently relocated the podcast to TIDAL and started landing even bigger guests—including a two-part interview with Jay Z. 

Listen: TIDAL

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The Combat Jack Show

the combat jack show

Legendary hip-hop podcaster Reggie Ossé lost a battle with colon cancer and passed away in late 2017, but The Combat Jack Show vault remains an incredible resource for hip-hop fans. Not afraid of delving into serious conversations about culture, politics, and race, Ossé perfected the craft of long, intimate conversations with some of the biggest names in the history of rap—including RZA, Scarface, Ice Cube, and Chuck D. Beginning with the show's very first guest, Sean Price, Ossé conversations piece together to form a valuable oral history of hip-hop culture.

Listen: iTunes / SoundCloud


The Future of What

the future of what podcast

Does radio still matter? Are digital downloads on their way out? These are the types of questions that The Future of What tackles each week. Host Portia Sabin (president of independent record label Kill Rock Stars) speaks with industry experts and musicians in an effort to uncover trends about the future of music—sprinkling in useful nuggets of advice for anyone interested in the music business.

Listen: iTunes / SoundCloud


Drink Champs

drink champs podcast

The loosest podcast on this list, Drink Champs operates around a simple premise: put interesting rappers at a table overflowing with alcohol, press record, and see what happens. With drinks flowing, hosts N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN aren't afraid to tackle personal and controversial topics, guiding guests out of their PR-minded interview bubbles and into fascinating conversations rarely heard on the record.

Listen: iTunes / YouTube

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BONUS: Yeah, But Still

yeah but still podcast

Yeah, But Still isn't a music podcast. Hosts Jack Wagner and Brandon Wardell are more likely to spend an entire episode trading stories about JNCO jeans and strange characters on the internet than debating music headlines, but they do occasionally have musicians on the show as guests. To be honest, though, this is just one of our favorite podcasts here at P&P and it felt wrong to leave it off the list. The show is always worth a listen each week, but special episodes like Jack's Serial-style "Calamari Algorithm" and a recent interview with Roseanne's son make this one of the most unique, entertaining podcasts we've ever heard.

Listen: iTunes / SoundCloud (for bonus episodes—and feet pics—they're also on Patreon)