Are Podcasts Killing Music, Or Just a Waste of Time?

by Chris Richards

I’m about to kick a hornet’s nest — and if this were a podcast, you would now hear the crunch of a boot perforating a hive, followed by the intensifying hum of inconvenienced hornets. But, fortunately, this isn’t a podcast, so my punt shall remain silent, and here it is: I’m against podcasts.

I think they’re tedious and samey and sedative, and when I’m feeling especially cranky, I consider them an enemy of music. Most podcasts are conversations for people to eavesdrop on — recorded talk that precludes real-life talk about real life with zombie talk about podcasts. Also, I like music. With all of the world’s unheard songs beckoning us with their endless mystery, why would anyone choose to waste their precious listening hours on a podcast?

Asking that question makes me feel very alone. In a March cover story, New York Magazine called the podcast “the most significant and exciting cultural innovation of the new century,” offering lots of boffo numbers to back it up. First, there were those 340 million downloads of “Serial,” the true-crime investigative blockbuster that made “podcast” a household word back in 2014. Then there was that $230 million transaction in February, when Spotify bought the podcast network Gimlet Media, foreshadowing juicier deals to come. And now there are well over a half-million podcasts currently in circulation, with new ones sprouting each day.

This is a serious new form, and it’s generating serious money — so instead of treating podcasts as a convenient way to feel smarter, let’s take them seriously. Let’s measure their worth by truly listening.

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SOURCE: The Washington Post