Entertainment Listening: Podcast or Music

It is no secret that I enjoy listening to podcasts. I have written about them, I have reviewed them, I have participated in them, and then I created and continue to publish my own. But I am also a lover of music, which I have also written about, reviewed, and played.

Of late, podcast listening has taken a back burner to music, specifically Bob Dylan, R.E.M., and some curated playlists on Spotify and Amazon Music.

There are podcasts that I have religiously listened to on the date of release. There are also those that I used to do that for, but they’re now shows that I’ll get to, if I get to it. For me the shift happened just before 2020 when I discovered one simple fact: no matter what the podcast is, music always significantly improves my mood.

Perhaps this is something that I always knew, but it was the podcast lover in me who created an environment in late 2019 where I was listening to 4 or 5 hours of podcasts daily. As someone who reads a lot and who doesn’t listen to podcasts or music while reading, this meant that most of my free time not related to editing or recording my own podcast was related to consuming others.

The conscious decision to listen to more music and less podcasts, however, improved my mood. I can’t regularly say the same for even my most treasured podcasts.

There are quite a few podcasts that I still listen to and even more that have become less regular and more “on occasion” enjoyment, but it does mean I’ve been able to go deep into the catalogs of some bands, eras, and genres.

I’ve gone especially deep into Bob Dylan’s catalog, as well as 1960s alternative, which is a strange mix of music even when you compare what Spotify and Amazon Music both or separately deem to be a part of that era and genre. Overall, I’ve discovered a few gems in there.

Some of Agent Palmer's Vinyl Collection

Some of Agent Palmer’s Vinyl Collection

Pardon the “dad rock” that’s about to be dropped, but I’ve also explored the catalogs of R.E.M., Dire Straits, Guster, Alice Cooper, and many others.

I also recently picked up an electric drum kit, so I’m always on the lookout for some songs to add to my drum playlist. I’m a very amateur drummer, in that I can keep a beat, achieving the minimum level of skill required to consider one or oneself a drummer. I have more often picked up my acoustic guitar. I still look at my electric guitars and my bass guitars wondering when I’ll get the inspiration to pick them up again, plug in, and turn on.

The point is, I’ve been a wanton musician for most of my life, and when I was listening to nothing but podcasts, it took me away from the passion of playing and listening. These are both things that, in moderation, I need in my life.

I also really enjoy the things that I get from listening to podcasts, so at this moment, as I write these words, I think I’ve found a good balance. While it may tip one way or the other from day to day or week to week, as long as the balance remains where it should be, I’ll be all the better for it.

Have you found your balance? Have you noticed a change in mood based on whether you listen to music or to people talking?