Music writers, curators, and musicians are all finding a home on Substack, publishing everything from playlists to original compositions to cultural criticism, perspectives on music history, and a whole lot more.
There’s a lot to explore, so grab your headphones: This thread is the place for all of us to share what we’ve been reading, listening to, and inspired by recently when it comes to music writing on Substack.
How to join the thread:
Do write about music on Substack? Introduce yourself and your work. No need to include a link to your publication: When a fellow writer clicks on your name, they will land on your profile.
Do you know of a Substack doing great things with music? Give them a shoutout in the comments so others can check out their publication. Be sure to share a link to the publication you admire, and why.
Our team will be in the thread today from 10 a.m.–11 a.m. PST / 1 p.m.–2 p.m. EST in discovery and celebration mode with you all.
Lots to listen to! Thanks for participating in today's shoutout thread on music.
We'll see you next month for another Shoutout Thread. We've got something special up our sleeve...stay tuned!
Katie + Rose + Bailey + Kelsa + Jasmine + Annie + Andrew + Stephenie
Substack hosts weekly Writing Hour. At the beginning and end of each Writing Hour, writers check in and set goals with a small group of fellow writers. For the rest of the hour we write in silence soundtracked by a playlist curated by Substack music writers.
Here are a few that we started with!
- Shuffle Sundays https://shufflesundays.substack.com/
- Listening Session https://listeningsessions.substack.com/
- Fog Chaser https://fogchaser.substack.com/
- Leia's Newsletterhttps://leiamulheresporto.substack.com/
Playlist of all female artists: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7bpi9h3QCWt78mTVAh32s8?si=2a2077c0806e4ffb
Next Tuesday, Kevin Alexander who writes For the Record will be soundtracking Writing Hour. https://thekevinalexander.substack.com/
We hope you will join us! (https://lu.ma/writing-hour)
My good friend from college, Kahrin, is writing a weekly story about her upcoming album based on a book of poems that her grandpa wrote. It's a joy to see the ways she is bringing in voice notes from conversations with him, videos of him talking about that time in his life and her own reflections.
Check it out: https://kahrin.substack.com/
I write a (completely free!) short daily game where I select three songs I've been enjoying with a common thread between the lyrics - first reader to correctly guess wins!
hi all! my name is Amaya and I write Record store. it's a weekly newsletter about mixes I make. recently featured artists include Arcade Fire, Kacey Musgraves, and Neil Young. I just celebrated one year of writing it and I would love it if you checked it out!
I write On Repeat, and 3x a week, I help make your playlists better one song at a time. This year, I've also taken on the challenge of reviewing 100 new (to me) records, and am writing about those as well.
I'd love to have you join me!
There are a LOT of people doing great work on this platform! Here are just a few definitely worth your time:
These are wildly different newsletters, but they're all are putting out quality work. I'm glad I've found them, and I think you'll dig them too.
Hi all - thank you again to the Substack team for hosting these threads.
In my newlsetter, I share a new original instrumental song every month (using the podcast or video feature) coupled with a few thoughts, inspirations, and visuals of my own making. I am currently writing short pieces of music in every key, making my way around the circle of fifths (for any theory folks out there).
Anyway, I have been so blown away by all the phenomenal music writers on the platform. Other musicians sharing original music here on Substack include Wu Fei (https://wufeimusic.substack.com/) and my friend Isa, who releases music as Terra Nova: https://terranova.substack.com/
I'm grateful to have been connected to a group of music writers through the Substack Go program, so, I'd like to give a shoutout to some of the Didion 14 crew:
Leo Mascaro + Shuffle Sundays: https://shufflesundays.substack.com/
Brad Kyle + Front Row & Backstage: https://bradkyle.substack.com/
Belle Plaine + Belle Plaine's Weather Report: https://belleplainemusic.substack.com/
Max's Music Mondays: https://maxsmusicmondays.substack.com/
The Run Out Grooves: https://therunoutgrooves.substack.com/
Hal Walker: https://halwalker.substack.com/
And someone I got to connect with recently is Kevin Alexander from For the Record: https://thekevinalexander.substack.com/
Shoutout to Stygi who this week has put together great music from Ukraine https://midweekcrisis.substack.com her substack is always terrific every week.
Hi! My name is Robert and I write 'Listening Sessions,' a three-times-a-month Substack on music focusing primarily on artists and albums from the 1950s into the 70s. I write about all types of music, including jazz, soul, rock, pop, classical, folk, country, usually focusing on one musician and/or album per edition. My style is more on the criticism, long-form essay side. Some of the pieces I most proud of are deep dives into the 5th Dimension, Elvis' early-60s recordings in Nashville and Billy Eckstine (an album that Isaac Hayes produced).
There are a lot of writers doing great work about music on Substack. Here is just a small sample:
Midweek Crisis - https://midweekcrisis.substack.com/
The Nelson George Mixtape - https://nelsongeorge.substack.com/
The Eclectic's Corner - https://jeffreysultanof.substack.com/
I write about the songs I listen to over and over, and also about a lot of other stuff (mostly writing-related, since I'm a writer). One of my favorite new-ish substacks about music is the one that Tegan and Sara are doing -- teganandsara.substack.com!
So nice to have a whole thread dedicated to us music nerds! 🤘🏼
I started my journey over a year ago writing about things to watch, listen, read, play, etc, but last summer I decided to narrow down and started to focus Shuffle Sundays to almost exclusively music content (with some small bites of other things). It's been an incredible journey and I'm so glad I've made the switch!
Shout out to our Substack Go Didion 14 crew:
» For Chaser: http://fogchaser.substack.com
» Brad Kyle + Front Row & Backstage: https://bradkyle.substack.com/
» Belle Plaine + Belle Plaine's Weather Report: https://belleplainemusic.substack.com/
» Max's Music Mondays: https://maxsmusicmondays.substack.com/
» The Run Out Grooves: https://therunoutgrooves.substack.com/
» Hal Walker: https://halwalker.substack.com/
And other ones I've also been enjoying:
» Kevin Alexander's On Repeat: https://thekevinalexander.substack.com/
» Arjun's 3x7: https://3by7.substack.com
» Stygis' Midweek Crisis: https://midweekcrisis.substack.com
Hello fellow newsletterers! For music, I follow Midweek Crisis: https://midweekcrisis.substack.com/ Enjoy!
Hello everyone! I'm Jamieson and I write One Good Song, which is just what it sounds like: I pick one song I love and try to figure out why it sparks joy. I have a background in music criticism but my newsletter is more personal in nature; I like thinking about how songs fit into my life and give it shape. I publish more sporadically than I'd like because my day job keeps me busy, but I'm fortunate to have some patient subscribers.
Some of the music-focused Substacks I love to read include:
Matthew Schnipper's Deep Voices (exploring obscure and experimental music)
Adam Offitzer's Hear Hear (a great survey of the musical universe, including playlists and writing)
Natalie Schumann's I Made You a Playlist (fun playlists with tons of personality and joy)
Have a great day and happy reading!
I enjoy "Front Row and Backstage" by Brad Kyle: https://bradkyle.substack.com/
Having spent several years in FM rock radio (Houston & Baton Rouge) in the mid-70s, and in the record biz in the late 70s & early 80s, I write about my behind-the-scenes misadventures!
Hello! I'm a Brooklyn-based performer named Natalie, a.k.a @noots.mcgoots, and I write a monthly newsletter about new music in attempts to accompany life with a silly little soundtrack. At the end of each month, I dive into current sounds and explore their relevance in popular and internet culture. There are fun thoughts, there are themed playlists, there are album recommendations, sometimes there are memes (if you're lucky). Check it out if you think listening to music is fun, knowing music is cool, and sharing music is HOT.
Ted Gioia's The Honest Broker and Robert Gilbert's Listening Sessions
Helllllo, I write a newsletter that goes out weekly with thoughts on music (both new and old, usually in the punk, pop-punk, alternative, and pop-rock genres), and a recap of my weekly entertainment diet (thoughts on movies, tv shows, books, comic books, etc.).
Each week also includes a ten song playlist of music I loved during the week and usually three to five things I think are worth sharing.
I will shoutout (although I am probably not cool or young enough to use that term 😉) The Honest Broker. A wide-ranging, in-depth newsletter about music and the music business (plus other things) by Ted Gioia. https://tedgioia.substack.com
Hi my name is Lora! I started Music Club in Feb 2019 to share my passion for music with others and help members discover new music. As of this year, I have pivoted to monthly newsletters on Substack :) I send it out at the start of the month and it features music I listened to and recommend from the month prior, in addition to sharing my curated playlists. From albums to DJ sets, the club covers all genres and makes it easy for people to find music to listen to as well as expand their musical horizons.
Hey folks! I just created "What's Curation?"-- a daily newsletter that sends you one song every day. Genre no bar. In the digital era, music is excessively categorized, "hand-picked" and curated. We end up in echo chambers of music we always listen to. Discovery is difficult and not organic. I will give you Japanese rock, Mandopop, Indian classical, Turkish religious, and everything else. Come join me and ask with a smirk, "What's Curation?"
Shoutout to Fog Chaser, who sends out awesome music once a month.
A lot of it ties in with nature, which is right up my alley as an outdoor writer. You can check it out here: https://fogchaser.substack.com/
Hi, I'm Chris and I write Negative Progression, a free newsletter. I (mostly) write about music and when I do I usually take a dive into a specific album and how it fits into my life ("Album Stories") or a song I love ("One Perfect Song") or even making a Greatest Hits compilation for a band that doesn't have one. I've also dabbled in a couple of mixtapes, like the Best of Live Aid, or the Best of the 2010s.
I don't currently subscribe to any music newsletters but I'm so stoked to comb through this list and subscribe to a bunch of them!
I’ve been enjoying:
Neko Case “How Does Music Feel Today” brings me viscerally back to remembering certain songs and how I felt hearing them (&even songs I didn’t know I feel like I’m solidly in Nekos memory of the song. https://nekocase.substack.com/p/how-does-music-feel-today
Also Flow States daily music mixes gives me a chance to expand my music mind and helps me focus. https://www.flowstate.fm
Ted Gioia’s newsletters have been enlightening: https://tedgioia.substack.com/
Used to work/live near the empty lot that is/was The Lot Radio. https://thelotradio.substack.com/about
Hi folks, I publish a heady zine called COOL MUSIC. The goal is to highlight what music can show you about the everyday world. We explore off the beaten path kind of living — from freaky freaks to dive bar flies to residents of roadside motels — through essays, photographs, musings, poetry, and whatever else the stories call for. These posts all come with music recommendations inspired by the subject or situation. Moreover, we regularly publish playlists. If you like getting lost in weird conversations with strangers over cheap beer, you'll enjoy our vibe.
My current favorite newsletter is by Damon Krukowski (former member of Galaxie 500) called Dada Drummer. He brilliantly muses on life and the future and the collision of tech and art. It's especially salient as we push forward into the '20s, wondering about how big tech's ever expanding footprint will affect culture. https://dadadrummer.substack.com/
Hey 👋 I’m alivia and I just started a sub stack about music and data. I am analyzing how woman can use songs and music videos to process their emotions.
It’s in the beginning stages.
Hi, I'm Wayne Robins, longtime rock/pop music critic. I bring readers with me inside the critical process: How to come to an agreement with Billy Joel as he rose to stardom from Long Island, and I was responsible for everything he did as the writer for Newsday, the LI newspaper. Or how Ringo Starr opened up about his recovery from alcoholism; playing air guitar with Keith Richards sharing a bottle of bourbon before my recovery, which I also write about. Recently, I found the playlists for a radio show I did in the early 1980s, playing evevrything from the Dead Kennedys to James Brown, and was delighted to find I could embed the music (from Spotify) on those playlists on my Substack. An excellent tool.
I’m Michael and my SubStack is Michael Acoustic. My weekly teasers (Thursdays) and main posts (Fridays) are aimed at beginning (and especially older) guitarists, songwriters, independent recording artists, and includes interviews with interesting people in the business (Adam Perlmutter, editor of Acoustic Guitar Magazine a couple of weeks ago, Brad Kyle who authors bradkyle.SubStack.com coming up next week), a Bonus Round with music trivia questions (and answers!), and now a link to an “expert” article in every post. We’ve explored beginning guitar (take lessons!), how to choose an acoustic guitar (locally owned guitar shop!), music theory (but only as a “language” for communicating with other musicians, especially non-guitarists!), songwriting (phrasing, lyrics, rhyme and rhythm structures), and actually written a brief “silly song” verse/chorus and set it to music in a chord chart. Join us for more interviews and guest columns from folks who have an experienced outlook on this corner of the musical world coming up in the months ahead! Cheers, and keep playing! Michael Acoustic
Hey, I’m Jeff. I write TREE, one of the publications on FOREST. Every Monday to Thursday I give you one thought, one illustration and one song to get your day started right.
My music taste is broad. I gravitate towards British and Irish intelligent pop, hip hop and soul. But there are regular throwbacks to the 90s indie rock I grew up with plus anything else that catches my attention.
TREE takes one minute to read.
Shoutout to Arj who writes 3x7. He recommends three song every week (or thereabouts). He always has something interesting to share that I’ve never heard. https://3by7.substack.com/
My name is Emilie Friedlander and I co-host a podcast called The Culture Journalist about culture in the age of platforms. We regularly discuss the impact of platforms on the lives of musicians and other music industry workers, including, recently, a deep dive into the Neil Young/Joe Rogan controversy and Spotify's compensation model for musicians, an interview with veteran music journalist Ann Powers on the fate of music journalism in the era of streaming and clicks, and a conversation with Mat Dryhurst about whether NFTs can really be seen as a viable revenue stream for independent musicians.
One music-focused newsletter I really like touching upon similar issues is Dada Drummer by Damon & Naomi's Damon Krukowski https://dadadrummer.substack.com/
Hi, I'm CJ and I co-author a weekly music blog called "Exile on Newbury St." Each week one of us pitches an album to be considered for admission into the sacred halls of the Newbury St. Collection (our imaginary Hall of Fame). The pitcher must convince the other two that his album is worthy of admission based on its influence, its place in music history and, of course, its content. The other two must respond and give reasons for why the pitch was successful or unsuccessful. The decision must be unanimous for the album to be admitted. My co-authors and I have wildly different musical tastes ranging from hard rock and heavy metal to soft rock and jazz to jam bands and country. So making a successful pitch isn't easy. We've covered nearly 70 albums so far and we love to tell stories, bust each other's chops and interact with our readers. Give us a try. I'm sure you'll enjoy it!
Hi all. I'm just getting started, but creating a Substack newsletter to share developments on our new platform, Studiocast (www.studiocast.io) for artists and musicians to gain feedback on work-in-progress. Will feature artists on our platform as well as our start-up journey. Open to any tips on getting started with a Substack newsletter, and always welcome any questions, comments or feedback on Studiocast. We're getting ready to launch our beta in a couple weeks, so if you're a musician or artist, visit our website and signup to be a part of it!
Hi everyone. I write a daily (so far) substack about music, but I wanted to draw your attention to Joe Pernice's new Four Track Substack. If you're looking for a glimpse into the writing process for one of the great indie songwriters, this is for you! https://joepernice.substack.com/
I write comics and essays about music of the 1980s, with a biographical slant.
Today, the spotlight falls on Michael and his Michael Acoustic https://michaelfab.substack.com/ a newsletter for beginning guitarists and musicians...but, it's so much more!
Recently, he's written about Elton John, Alison Krause, and featured an exclusive interview with the Editor of Acoustic Guitar Magazine, Adam Perlmutter!
Hello all, I’m Sam and I write on Legally Music. Just a small monthly update on my music findings spanning from the obscure to classics, with a couple album reviews and yearly roundups in the mix as well. It’s mostly a self-indulgent project of mine that I share with friends, but I’m always happy to have other eyes on it!
deeeepest s/o for s/fj: https://substack.sashafrerejones.com/
Hello all! I'm John Park from over at the 'Skeleton Groove' where I write some reviews of albums I've discovered and loved, old ones I go back to and some lesser known trends in music! I'd love it if you stopped by for an article or two and give the site a look and if you’re feeling Nasty give the subscribe a click. A few samples below!
The Consent Slow Jam-
Top 5 Bobby Womack Monologs-
Just googled "substack children's records" and see that, if I am gonna be a children's recordings' fan of substance, I am gonna have to write about them in SUBSTACK.
Hello, I'm Rolf and my newsletter, Terror Management, is about the metaphysical connections we form with music. The framework is my evergrowing record collection.
The publication I'd like to shoutout is Dan Ozzi's Reply Alt. Dan is an excellent writer who manages to be poignant but very funny at the same time. danozzi.substack.com
Hey Guys! I’m new here, and apparently super late to the party, but gonna try my luck anyway :')
I’m a music student, composer, teacher, and a writer of music. In my music pub One Bar At A Time, write about my experiences with these, including tips, tricks, and sharing of my process and weekly progress with each music project, teaching, music/playlist curation, and more!
I run two publications. But the newest, music publication is called One Bar At A Time which I’m in love with! First issue will be out tomorrow GMT! See you guys at the zoom session tomorrow :)
Retrofit has introduced a new podcast, Old School, that has been picked up by Apple and Spotify. Original underground FM DJ Professor Mikey drops the needle back in time into the deep mystery of the music of the before times. And it’s alway a party.
Hi, I'm Mitchell and twice a week I publish a post about the last track on an album. That's it, nothing more to it than that. We've had over 40 entries now and I'm going to keep going until I run out of closing tracks to write about.
Here's the playlist to date https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6KVZ0ZjNtl3vgrEoQrB6qb?si=065656863b914641
Well it seems I missed this. Figured I might as well post and see if there's any traffic left on this thread.
My name is Joe and I am a massive country music fan. I write a bimonthly ish blog entitled Today I Heard.
Growing up in the digital age, we relate to music in unrecognizable ways. From YouTube covers or tiktok videos or algorithm recs, it's a brand new world.
I tell the story of the modern music experience through the lens of a song and a boatload of adjectives. Typical posts are some combination of philosophical thoughts about music and humanity all framed around the discovery of a song. Nearly always it's in the country music world, but by and large the ideas and concepts are universal.
I also collab with a buddy on monthly reviews of what we listened to in the last month. There's always some fun banter and disagreement there as well.
If you like country music, you'll love us. If you like thoughtful and philosophical ramblings on music in general, you will as well.
I post one specially curated playlist per month. Soul/jazz/psych/rock/folk/pop/and beyond https://mysteriousalloys.substack.com/
I'm a singer-songwriter and write Jake Morley's Famously Loss-making Email Newsletter: a weekly offering of new songs, articles and videos:
Most of my performer friends are on Patreon, but writing email newsletters has always been my passion. Writing emails here has quickly been the highlight of my week, and lots of my audience too. I feel like I've found my home, and hoping to build something special here.
Thanks for the music shoutout, loads of great suggestions here. Will enjoy exploring them!
Do you care about the African music scene? Afrobeats as we all know it. I write about the Nigerian music scene. Its up-and-coming acts, and the great acts that are away from the mainstream. Check the sub-section of my Newsletter— Concealed superstars.
Does anyone else love the experience of hearing music and being taken back to a period, a person, and a place in your life? I have taken the concept for writing little biographies based on music in my life from the 1960s through recent years. Please come visit "Musical Triggers," I would love to hear what you all think and perhaps learn a few of your musical triggers as well.
I write music for my books, so I should put something up here on Substack sometime 🤔 This has been very informative and I'm having fun checking out this thread, thank you!
My name is Jay Knowles and I've been a professional country etc. songwriter for the last twenty five years. I just started a newsletter called Song Friends where I write every two weeks about writing songs. Occasionally about the how and the why. But more often, about the things my friends and I have discovered about art and work and the world and ourselves as the result of spending our lives sitting down every day and trying to write yet another song that hopefully someone… or maybe even everyone… will sing.