As a musician living in the Dallas – Fort Worth area I sometimes practically live in my car. Traveling throughout the metroplex between gigs and teaching takes up a large chunk of my time. An even greater chunk of time is spent dealing with the ongoing construction and inevitable traffic that comes with it. This is time I will never have back and often cuts into time that I might otherwise spend working and being productive.
I almost never listen to music in the car anymore. I prefer to sit and listen to music with no distraction. Driving a car with a manual transmission through the construction that is Interstate 35E is , to say the least, a minor distraction from taking in music. For awhile I tried listening to some books on tape (like The Law of Success by Napoleon Hill) but found it difficult to stay concentrated on such a long format. This inability to focus lead to a wild flux in the content I consumed- shifting from National Public Radio to shuffled Spotify playlists to just the audio of YouTube guitar gear reviews. The downward spiral continued until my Fiancee, Jamie, introduced me to 99% Invisible. I had listened to podcasts in the past but never got deeply into any. I would predominately use my podcast app to catch up on syndicated episodes of NPR shows like This American Life and Radiolab when I felt like listening to NPR but Car Talk or Prairie Home Companion were on. After listening to a handful of 99pi podcasts I began searching for music and productivity related podcasts. I’m now hooked on listening to podcasts while driving. One or two episodes will usually fill a commute and they can be very easy to engage with compared to music and audio books. Here are some of my favorites that I’ve come across so far:
1. The Jazz Spotlight
The Jazz Spotlight contains a mass of information about music marketing, social media, content, business, and interviews. While the podcast focuses on jazz it is equally applicable to the music industry as a whole. It is especially valuable for independent DIY minded musicians that don’t have the backing of record labels. Since this type of musician is increasingly common in 2015 I think that TJS is a valuable resource for anyone involved in the music industry.
2. Gear Talk Podcast
There are not many episodes of Gear Talk Podcast but the content is stellar and the host, Lance Seymour, is entertaining and personable. This is one of my very favorite podcasts. Episodes don’t seem to be on any set schedule and are a welcome surprise notification in my podcast app.
3. Chasing Tone Podcast
Some “epiditions” of Chasing Tone are super informative and some are just a bunch of dudes hanging out, being funny, and sometimes talking about tone. Either way, I listen religiously every Monday and digested to the first 50 or so episodes in two weeks. It is hosted by Brian Wampler of Wampler Pedals and some Wampler employees. There is a wealth of information about guitar, gear, electronics, circuits, amps, and more.
4. DIY Video Guy Podcast
While DIY Video Guy is not about music, host Caleb Wojcik is a great source for productive inspiration. I listened through a major backlog of this podcast while driving from Texas to Kansas and back to Texas in June before making my first YouTube guitar lessons. I learned a lot about making videos, which is a lot like editing music on a computer. It is helpful for musicians to know how to make their own videos of performances to use for promotion and this is a great resource to get started. Wojcik also makes a video podcast called DIY Video Guy TV that is worth checking out once you get off the road.
5. This Is Your Life
Another not-directly-related-to-music-podcast, This Is Your Life is one of the most inspirational resources I have come across. Host Michael Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, focuses on “intentional leadership.” The tagline of this weekly podcast is: “My goal is to help you live with more passion, work with greater focus, and lead with extraordinary influence.” Thanks to Rip of Rip’s Music Podcast for telling me about Michael Hyatt’s book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World and leading me to this great podcast.
6. Walking the Dog
Walking the Dog was recorded by Seattle based singer Solveig Whittle while walking her dog on Friday mornings. She is not currently recording episodes and the twenty episodes are exclusively available through Soundcloud. The show is full of helpful talks about different aspects of the music business. My only hope is that she records some new episodes and puts her show on iTunes soon so I have more content to consume.
7. Tone Mob
Tone Mob is a new podcast that I am extremely excited about. As of today there are only three episodes out but I would definitely recommend the show to anyone interested in guitar gear. This podcast is now available through iTunes and Stitcher.
8. TEDTalks Music
I discovered TEDTalks Music while researching for this article and have yet to listen to an episode. That said, I am about to dive in. TEDTalks make outstanding content and I am very excited to see what these episodes have in store.
Two of the most popular ways to listen and discover podcasts are Stitcher and Apple’s Podcast app. I hope this list will inspire you not only to start listening to these podcasts and others but also to find new ways of being productive in time otherwise wasted. Do you have any favorite podcasts? Leave them in the comments below and subscribe to the Garner Guitar Newsletter to be updated about future blog posts and videos as they are released.