Podcasts offer a wealth of information, insights, and entertainment related to most any topic. Unlike videos or reading material, podcasts can be listened to on the go — in your car, at the gym, or while you’re painting, gardening, or walking the dog. That may be why podcasts are an increasingly popular form of content. That includes art podcasts for people involved with arts organizations, arts education, or creatives of any kind.
The number of podcast listeners in the U.S. rose steeply last year, according to Spotify’s Podcast Trends Report. About half of all American adults listened to a podcast in the past year, according to Pew Research Center. Of those, 10% are avid listeners who consume podcasts nearly every day, while another 25% listen a few times a month.
Surveys say 49% of Americans have listened to a podcast in the last year; 10% listened almost daily, and 25% listened a few times a month.
While Millennials and Gen Z currently represent the biggest segment of podcast listeners, this trend may not last much longer. With so many new shows being launched, listener demographics are changing, according to the Spotify report. “Podcasters proved that the medium truly offers something for everyone, helping to attract new audiences, both younger and older.”
What Are the Most Popular Podcasts?
From true crime to vegan cooking, podcasts cover a wide range of topics. The most popular podcasts are related to comedy and entertainment, reports Pew. According to Spotify, listeners streamed Society & Culture and News podcasts the most in the past year, across all platforms. And podcasts not only inform and entertain listeners, they also influence behavior: Pew found that 6 in 10 podcast listeners have watched a movie, read a book, or listened to music because of a podcast.
Podcasts not only inform and entertain, they also influence behavior: 6 in 10 listeners have watched a movie, read a book, or listened to music because of a podcast.
Below, we’re doing a deeper dive into podcasts related to arts and culture. Not just art history and the performing arts, but also arts education, marketing and leadership. Check out our list of the best art podcasts — plus a few podcasts that will interest anyone, no matter your niche.
The Best Art Podcasts
This podcast has 100 episodes dedicated to discussion of teaching art to kids, making art, and how those two practices overlap and feed each other. Hosted by Rebecca Potts Aguirre, a teaching artist living in Los Angeles who teaches visual art in elementary schools, most episodes are about an hour long and feature an interview with a teaching artist. Recent episodes include a collage artist talking about how the pandemic affected her work and an artist who works with students with disabilities.
Geared primarily toward K-12 educators, this art podcast will appeal to anyone interested in creativity and education. Host Susan Riley is a former music teacher turned education entrepreneur. In each approximately 30-minute episode, she shares powerful stories and strategies from authors, artists, and educators exploring the creative journey. Each episode is provided in audio, video, and written format and includes a downloadable resource.
The best podcasts don’t have to be lengthy to be worthwhile. If you’re looking for a quick hit of art history for yourself or your students, this podcast delivers. Covering the visual arts, each entertaining and informative episode is only about 10 minutes long, on average, and is aimed at all ages. Recent topics include how art affects the brain, who was Italian sculptor Donatello, and how Cirque de Soleil started.
Music Podcasts and Theater Podcasts
In this podcast, host and creator Hrishikesh Hirway asks musicians to delve into the specific decisions that went into creating their work. The result is an intimate, compelling story focused on how the artists brought their hit songs to life, inspiring music enthusiasts and other artists alike. Each episode is about 20 minutes long. Guests include Fleetwood Mac, Billie Eilish, U2, Metallica, Lorde, Yo-Yo Ma, The Roots, Bon Iver, and more. Song Exploder has been adapted into a Netflix series.
Longtime theater marketing expert Julie Nemitz guides regional and community theatres to grow their revenue and delight their audiences. In recent episodes, she discusses attracting audiences with great marketing content, Broadway advertising, digital theatre, and the changing consumer behavior of theatergoers. Each episode ranges from about 30-45 minutes long. CourseStorm is pleased to sponsor In The Greenroom!
Passionate about helping arts organizations reach their highest potential, host Aubrey Bergauer has been hailed as “the Steve Jobs of classical music” and “the Sheryl Sandberg of the symphony.” In < 60 minutes, recent episodes educate listeners on such topics as how to self-release recordings without a label, developing alternate revenue streams, and a new framework for arts marketing. CourseStorm is proud to sponsor The Offstage Mic!
Business Podcasts and Related Topics
Billing itself as “the world’s first podcast about design,” Design Matters with Debbie Millman has been broadcast for over 15 years. The hour-long show examines how creativity combines with business, education, and other topics through in-depth conversations with designers, writers, artists, curators, musicians, and other creatives. Recent episodes have featured Alan Dye, vice president of human interface design at Apple, and self-taught footwear designer turned college president D’Wayne Edwards.
“This is the podcast I have been devouring lately,” Bergauer told us. Host Robbie Kellman Baxter is the expert on the subscription/membership economy, and she interviews brands and marketers using a subscription model across all kinds of industries. The approximately 30-minute episodes feature brands like Netflix, Coursera, and digital language learning pioneer Babbel. Topics include mastering the subscription marketing mindset and customer retention analytics. “I love hearing what’s working in other sectors and drawing parallels to our industry,” said Bergauer.
In weekly ~ 30-minute episodes, host Adam Grant interviews leaders in their field on how to run organizations more effectively, develop high-performing teams, and address issues that affect most all of us. He has discussed building a strong team culture with Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, finding and becoming a great mentor with Wall Street veteran Carla Harris, and how to sustain creative energy with cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
“A lot of the challenges we face in the office (how to handle remote work, toxic bosses, improving company culture) affect just about every industry out there, so I love how Adam is addressing these big issues head-on with outstanding leaders every week,” said Bergauer.
Every weekday, host and journalist Elise Hu shares thought-provoking ideas on nearly every subject imaginable, from artificial intelligence to zoology. In bite-sized episodes ranging from 5 to 20 minutes, the world’s leading thinkers and creators invite you to change your perspective, pique your curiosity, and learn something new. Recent episodes discuss solving the climate crisis and educating girls in places that lack easy access to schooling.
More Art Education Resources
Whatever you’re interested in, whether arts and culture, business, education, or something else, there’s probably a podcast out there for you. Ask your students and colleagues what they’re listening to, browse the top podcasts charts, and keep an eye on the social media platforms of your favorite celebrities and brands. You may discover new podcasts you never knew existed. And if print is more your thing, check out our list of 12 Arts and Culture Magazines Worth Recommending to Students.
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