There are a number of popular genres in the podcasts market: true crime, comedy, sports, politics and technology among them. But music is also a thriving genre, with a variety of sub-formats exploring songs, artists and the culture around music.
We’ve chosen some of the most popular and/or inventive shows, which make a great starting point for anyone looking to understand how music fits in to the podcasting sector.
The original list was published as part of Pod Only Knows, the report we co-published in June 2019 with British music-industry body the BPI. You can read the full report here.
The list below is being added to whenever we spot a great new music podcast (or one we missed out in the original report!) We’ve tried to link to the official website of each show where possible, but the best way to find them is to search for their titles in your podcast app of choice.
Dive in to the comments to let us know which other shows that you love and think we should add…
Interview and Panel Shows
The Joe Budden Podcast (US)
Hosted by broadcaster and former artist Budden, this is one of the most popular hip-hop podcasts. Its latest season is exclusive to Spotify: one of its high-profile signings.
Hip Hop Saved My Life with Romesh Ranganathan (UK)
British comedian Ranganathan hosts this ‘comedy podcast about hip-hop’ with guests, who this far have included the likes of Professor Green, Clara Amfo and James Lavelle.
Broken Record (US)
With two seasons so far, this collaboration between producer Rick Rubin, author Malcolm Gladwell and journalist Bruce Headlam aims to provide “liner notes for the digital age”.
Who We Be Talks (UK)
One of Spotify’s original shows, a spin-off from its Who We Be playlist. DJ Semtex hosts, interviewing (mainly but not exclusively UK-based) grime and hip-hop artists.
David’s Out For A Good Time (US)
A Spotify original from the US. Hosted by blogger and writer David Olshanetsky, it’s an LGBTQ+ show with regular artist guests: Bebe Rexha, Charli XCX and Olly Alexander included.
Drink Champs (US)
Another interview-led hip-hop show, pitched as “the most professional, unprofessional podcast”. De La Soul, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Redman and Timbaland have all guested recently.
An interview show hosted by radio broadcaster Jenny Eliscu. Recent chats include Chvrches, Kurt Vile and Sharon Van Etten, accompanied by clips from Eliscu’s past interview archives.
Phil Taggart’s Slacker Podcast (UK)
Each episode of this show explores the career of a different artist – The Specials, Christine + The Queens and Fatboy Slim have all featured recently – starting with their first demos.
A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal (US)
Comedians Eric and Jeff Rosenthal interview hip-hop artists and industry figures. John Legend, Birdman, Post Malone’s manager Dre London and Roc Nation’s Nelly Ortiz are recent guests.
“Pop culture talk for discerning adults” podcast from the UK, presented by veteran music journalists Andrew Harrison and Sian Pattenden. Music, but also TV, books and films are discussed.
RA Exchange (UK)
Produced by dance brand Resident Advisor, this weekly podcast is a mix of interviews and panel discussions from artists, labels and promoters in the dance world.
Muses and Stuff (US)
This podcast focuses on some of the most interesting figures around the music industry: the “muses and groupies” going back to the 1960s, with most episodes focusing on single interviews.
Kyle Meredith With… (US)
Interview series hosted by American broadcaster Meredith, focusing on a different artist each episode. Perry Farrell, Jungle, Karen O and Simple Minds have all appeared in 2019.
The Hustle (US)
Weekly podcast that asks ‘what does it take to maintain a music career?’ via interviews with artists – with an element of where-are-they-now added to its focus on sustainability.
Listening to Ladies (US)
This interviews podcast has a specific focus: composers who are women. Each episode talks to a composer about their music, as well as their experience being a woman in this field.
Q Presents… The Making Of (UK)
Launched in March 2019 by music magazine Q, each episode of this podcast interviews a musician about their career. Aldous Harding, Jah Wobble and Sleaford Mods have all featured.
K-Pop Daebak (South Korea)
Korean singer Eric Nam has turned podcaster for this new show, which spotlights the latest K-Pop tracks and artists, promising inside info on new acts and big stars like BTS alike.
Water & Music (US)
US journalist Cherie Hu sees her podcasts as a way to dig in to music and tech topics at length, with a different guest each episode offering opinions: from hip-hop to marketing.
Midnight Chats presented by Loud and Quiet (UK)
More artist interviews – the theme here being their late-night, laidback nature – from Loud and Quiet magazine. Sharon Van Etten, Viv Albertine and Fat White Family are recent guests.
Riot Act (UK)
Alternative music is the focus for this British podcast hosted by Stephen Hill and Remfry Dedman, blending chat about gigs and tunes with interviews with guest artists and podcasters.
Couch Wisdom (US)
The Red Bull Academy initiative is shutting down, but its podcast archive of in-depth interviews lives on. No I.D., Philip Glass, Sheila E and Masters At Work have all guested in 2019 so far.
The Bob Lefsetz Podcast (US)
The veteran music-industry blogger has never pulled his punched when commenting on all things music, and his recently-revived podcast offers the same in audio form.
Official Charts: Take The Hit (UK)
Launched by the UK’s Official Charts Company, this podcast’s first series interviewed artists including Tom Walker, Freya Ridings and Claire Out Of Steps.
Sappening’ Podcast (UK)
Sean Smith, formerly of rock band The Blackout, has teamed up with journalist Morgan Richards for this pop-culture podcast, often with a guest artist as an interview.
Rap Radar (US)
This podcast is a bit under the radar, since it’s exclusive to streaming service Tidal. It’s hugely respected in the hip-hop world though thanks to Elliott Wilson and Brian ‘B.Dot’ Miller.
Artists and Labels
George Ezra and Friends (UK)
Ezra is currently one of the hottest tickets in British music, but he’s also a likeable podcaster, with an interview show that’s featured Sir Tom Jones, Nile Rodgers and Sigrid recently.
Table Manners with Jessie Ware (UK)
Artist Ware has a strong topic for her podcast: food. Each episode sees her talking and eating with a guest: Kiefer Sutherland kicked off the latest season in April.
Have You Heard George’s Podcast? (UK)
George the Poet has been winning awards for his podcast, and for good reason. It’s a blend of music, poetry, analysis of the news and culture, and a whole lot more besides.
Inside The Album (US)
Atlantic Records developed this podcast out of its New York office: its first season offered 10 episodes, each focusing on a specific album from one of the label’s artists.
The Lost Art of Liner Notes (US)
Sony Music’s Rumbleyard content division is behind this podcast, which like Inside The Album sees artists talking about the songwriting and recording processes for their albums.
Digging Deep: The Robert Plant Podcast (UK)
This recently-launched show will see the former Led Zeppelin frontman exploring the moments, people and places that inspired some of his most famous songs.
The David Gilmour Podcast (UK)
Pink Floyd’s Gilmour is selling a collection of more than 120 guitars for charity, with this podcast promoting the auction with Gilmour talking about some of the music recorded on them.
Distraction Pieces (UK)
Another artist-hosted interviews podcast, this one helmed by rapper and poet Scroobius Pip. Musicians, comedians, actors and authors are among the guests for his weekly episodes.
Someone Who Isn’t Me (UK)
New episodes of Daniel P. Carter’s show appear irregularly, but are always worth the wait: each features an in-depth interview with an artist about the full canvas of their creativity.
Humans of XS Manchester (UK)
Clint Boon of British baggy legends The Inspiral Carpets hosts this Manchester-themed podcast, talking to a range of artists and cultural figures from his home city.
Planet Jarre: The Podcast (France)
Jean-Michel Jarre’s career was the focus for this podcast in 2018, created by Sony Music. Actor and musician Matt Berry interviewed Jarre about his past career and new albums.
Ninja Tune Podcast (UK)
A new episode of the Ninja Tune podcast is always worth a listen: its most recent episode in March focused on artist The Cinematic Orchestra, with a conversation about their career.
Hospital Podcast (UK)
Independent drum’n’bass label Hospital Records is closing in on 400 episodes of its podcast, with a mixture of interviews, live features and brand new music from host London Elektricity’s box.
What’d I Say? (US)
Another Atlantic Records podcast from 2018, offering interviews with artists “about songs they made, songs they like, and songs they’d like to have made”.
Blossoms Pubcast (UK)
British act Blossoms recorded their official podcast in the Stockport pub that gave the band its name. “Tall tales, sound advice, crank calls” and one band member’s grandad all feature.
Music Analysis and Songwriting
Song Exploder (US)
One of the most well-known music podcasts, and deservedly so. Each episode picks apart a single track, with the help of the artists who originally recorded them.
Each season of Dissect picks a single album – so far, LPs by Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Frank Ocean and Lauryn Hill have featured – and analyses it song by song.
Switched On Pop (US)
Sparky podcast breaking down the musicology of pop songs, and exploring their place in culture. Hits by Lil Nas X, Billie Eilish have recently featured, plus a show about how streaming changed the sound of pop.
Soundtracking with Edith Bowman (UK)
Radio DJ Edith Bowman’s podcast focuses on the world of film music, as she interviews directors, actors, writers and producers – plus composers – about their musical lives.
Pitched as “a crash course in music: one band at a time” this show focuses on a single band each episode: De La Soul, Twenty One Pilots and Foo Fighters are among the recent subjects.
Punch Up The Jam (US)
Played for laughs, this podcast sees two comedians – Miel Bredouw and Demi Adejuyigbe – trying to “fix” a popular song by rewriting and remixing it with the help of guests.
Excuse the Mess (UK)
This is an inventive idea: the first half of each episode sees host Ben Corrigan interviewing a composer, then the second half sees the pair composing a new piece together, with set restrictions.
The Three Track Podcast (UK)
“Lovingly curated by a music nerd, for music nerds”. Each episode sees a guest choosing three favourite tracks to analyse, as well as talking about music’s wider role in their life.
The Art of Process with Aimee Mann and Ted Leo (US)
The two well-known singer-songwriters have paired up for this podcast that focuses on the creative process: not just for musicians, but for comedians, writers and TV showrunners.
David Walliams’ Marvellous Music Podcast (UK)
Classic FM persuaded actor and author David Walliams to front this 10-episode podcast aimed at children, exploring the history of classical music and its famous (and quirky!) composers.
Tape Notes (UK)
The music-recording process is the topic at hand for this show, which brings artists and producers back together to talk about how they made their albums.
Microphone Check (US)
Formerly an NPR podcast, but now a Spotify original – this excellent show sees Frannie Kelley and Ali Shaheed Muhammad discussing hip-hop culture and its role in wider society.
And The Writer Is… (US)
American songwriter Ross Golan fronts this interview podcast, which chooses a different songwriter each week to quiz about their career and their craft.
Heat Rocks (US)
Journalist Oliver Wang and music-supervisor Morgan Rhodes host this show, where each episode sees a guest talking about an album that shaped their lives in some way.
Under Cover (US)
Another Spotify original, this is linked to the Spotify Singles series, with artists explaining why they chose a certain song to cover as part of that initiative.
Turned Up (US)
This podcast is interested in what happens in the recording studio, although not exclusively so: it also explores industry topics, songwriter careers, and even the nature of sound itself.
Shows By (and For) Superfans
Watching The Throne (US)
There are more than 280 episodes so far of this podcast, which explores the lyrics and music of Kanye West. Each episode digs (deep!) into an individual track from his back catalogue.
Washed Up Emo (US)
The podcast of Tom Mullen, who in his day job oversees catalogue marketing and podcasts for Atlantic Records. His own show focuses on emo and post-hardcore bands from the 1990s / 2000s.
These Miracles Work: A Hold Steady Podcast (US)
Independent radio station WFPK created this five-episode podcast to celebrate the tenth anniversary of The Hold Steady’s album ‘Stay Positive’, complete with band interviews.
Coffee & Flowers: A Podcast About The National (US)
All 13 episodes in the first season of this podcast about The National debuted in March this year, offering a track-by-track analysis of the band’s 2007 album ‘Boxer’.
R U Talkin’ R.E.M. RE: ME? (US)
Hosts Adam Scott and Scott Aukerman are nearly 60 episodes deep in their comprehensive analysis of REM’s career – with the odd detour into U2 along the way.
Heart Shaped Pod (US)
Comedians Adam Tod Brown, Travis Clark, and Andy Sell are Nirvana superfans, and this podcast sees them discussing key moments (and music) from the band’s history.
The Oasis Podcast (UK)
Fans may be hoping in vain for an Oasis reunion, but as consolation they have nearly 80 episodes of this podcast devoted to the British band, including interviews with insiders.
The A to Z of David Bowie (UK)
British radio DJ Marc Riley is a longstanding Bowie fan (and was his last radio interviewer), so this show co-hosted with journalist Rob Hughes is a goldmine for fellow superfans.
Wannabe: A Spice Girls Podcast (US)
With The Spice Girls (well, four of them) reforming for a tour this year, this podcast looking back at the big moments in their career has topical relevance – and plenty of insight.
It’s Britney, Bitch! (US)
You can’t out-stan Britney Spears superfans T. Kyle and Bradley Stern, but you can enjoy their exploration of Britney’s career, as well as their thoughts on her recent troubles.
True Crime is a hugely-popular podcast category. This show combines that genre with music, telling the stories of musicians’ drug busts, mafia links and even murders.
Stay Free: The Story of The Clash (UK)
Spotify pulled in some star power for its eight-episode documentary on The Clash: the narrator is Public Enemy’s Chuck D. The show was produced by BBC Studios out of the UK.
Cocaine & Rhinestones: The History of Country Music (US)
This series ended in 2018, but it remains a high point for the pod-doc format, digging in to country history: “always with a killer soundtrack, sometimes a soundtrack made by a killer…”
Another classic music podcast: the tale of hip-hop entrepreneur Chris Lighty, as told by Gimlet Media – the production company recently acquired by Spotify.
Lost Notes (US)
Promising “the greatest music stories never told”, this show sees journalist and author Jessica Hopper exploring the nature of artist legacies, and how they change over time.
Case Notes (UK)
Like Disgraceland, this podcast sits at the intersection of true-crime and music. Except Classic FM is focusing here on composers, from Haydn and Mozart to the murderous Carlo Gesualdo.
Broadcaster and Media Podcasts
All Songs Considered (US)
This podcast from NPR is a mixture of new-music recommendations, news chat and artist interviews from hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton, who’ve built a fervent audience with their show.
Annie Mac’s Mini Mix (UK)
The shortest podcast in this roundup, clocking in at five minutes per episode. Each show is a mix contributed to Annie Mac’s BBC Radio 1 show by a guest DJ or artist.
Desert Island Discs (UK)
The famous British radio show is also available as a podcast, with its format of asking guests to choose eight tracks, a book and a luxury that they’d like to be stuck with on a desert island.
Hosted by New York Times music critic Jon Caramanica, this is an official NYT podcast about all things pop: from viral stars and boy bands to Michael Jackson’s legacy and country-rap’s history.
The Listening Service (UK)
There’s a campaign underway to save BBC Radio 3 show The Listening Service from cuts. Its podcast is an excellent reminder why people care so much about the experimental-music show.
The BBC Introducing Mixtape (UK)
The BBC is experimenting with podcasts as a music-discovery format. This, hosted by DJ Tom Robinson, offers an hour of songs by new artists every week, via its BBC Introducing initiative.
Rolling Stone Music Now (US)
Rolling Stone magazine’s podcast blends news, interviews and discussions between the publication’s journalists, with a new episode released every week or so.
Live Lounge Uncovered (UK)
A direct equivalent to Spotify’s Under Cover, this podcast goes behind the scenes of BBC Radio 1’s ‘Live Lounge’ segment, following artists as they prepare to record a live cover version.
Sound Opinions (US)
“The world’s only rock and roll talkshow” from Chicago station WBEZ, with hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot offering weekly reviews, news and interviews with visiting artists.
KEXP Music That Matters (US)
Another US radio station, KEXP, focuses on music mixes for its podcast. Now well past the 660-episode mark, each episode offers a collection of new, full-length tracks to listen to.
This Classical Life (UK)
Another BBC podcast, this time from Radio 3, which sees saxophonist Jess Gillam interview a different musical guest each episode, swapping their favourite tracks for the benefit of listeners.