I'm obsessed with podcasts. When I'm not writing or listening to music, I'm usually walking down the street with someone's voice in my head (😱). And increasingly, podcasts are big business. Companies like Slate, Gimlet and even we here at Mobile Nations have made a pretty good dent in the universe with series that appeal to every type of person.
Well, after Spotify announced that it was getting into the original podcast business, Google has followed up with its first series, and it's pretty darn good. Hosted by one of my favorite podcasters on earth, Hrishikesh Hirway, the series is called City Soundtracks, and it pairs great bands or artists and the cities that inspire them. The first three episodes are available now, and they range from R&B superstar Kehlani touring around her home town of Oakland, California, to (my favorite) Spoon giving Hirway the lowdown on Austin, Texas.
Hirway hosts two other notable podcasts, Song Exploder, which asks an artist to break down a song into its individual components, and The West Wing Weekly, where he goes through every episode with Joshua Malina, who played Will Bailey from season four until the series' end in 2006.
It's unclear what Google's intentions are for its original podcast content; one show with three episodes isn't likely to sway anyone to sign up for Play Music over Spotify (especially given Spotify's considerable investment in its own original media), but it's hopefully the beginning of a consistent output of worthy shows.