The first podcast episode is from the podcast Switched on Pop by Vox. This podcast is generally really great, examining the history, structure, or other context of popular music. A recent episode tackles the complicated issue of “What it means to make music in 2020.”
This is a great listen for musicians and non-musicians alike. The podcast episode considers the effects of Covid-19 on the music business – including the canceled gigs and the new ways that musicians are creating and sharing their music in this unprecedented moment.
It also covers music-making in light of the tremendous societal shift in consciousness surrounding racism, precipitated by the murder of George Floyd.
I’ve previously noted a lack of “protest” in popular music – with notable exceptions of course (on that, later). Comparing this time to the late 60s, the music industry has been surprisingly loathe to engage in political issues directly; unlike, for example, the comedy industry which has been highly engaged (think Broad City bleeping the word “Trump” or Hannah Gatsby’s award-winning standup special Nanette.)
As popular musicians have started “wake up” in this political moment, their music is reflecting that. For example, Spotify has a whole playlist devoted to protest music recently produced by mostly POC artists, some of whom are coming out of retirement to make these statements. (See end for playlist).
Anyway, I digress. Here’s the podcast episode. Look for our next recommendation soon!