In Pod We Trust: Tim's Listening Party

In Pod We Trust: Tim's Listening Party

In our monthly print edition, Music Week takes you inside the best music podcasts. Here, Tim Burgess tells us all about his Listening Party, the podcast which explores the stories behind music featuring a new guest and different tracks every week. It has recently returned for a second series with Absolute Radio... 

Tim’s Listening Party became a phenomenon on Twitter during the pandemic – was it an easy decision, then, for it to become a podcast?

“I’ve always thought that The Listening Party, as simple as it is, has no bounds to where it could go. I always thought it should be a radio show and a podcast, but it took a little while. It’s funny how people have always had ideas about how The Listening Party should be. People have said, ‘Oh, you should do Instagram Stories,’ or suggested guests I’d have no idea how to contact. I was also repeatedly told it should be a podcast, to which I’d respond, ‘Hook me up,’ and nobody could, or did, until a friend of a friend came along and suggested it should be a radio show [on Absolute Radio] and a podcast. After that, the sky was the limit!”

What do you think sets The Listening Party apart from other music podcasts out there?

“I think this one is special because getting to appear on a radio show that’s also a podcast is great for the artist and their label. It’s a chance for their music to be front and centre, celebrated personally, and explored in a way that deepens people’s appreciation.”

It’s doing incredibly well, with impressive podcast chart placings all over the world. Has that success surprised you?

“There’s been a really positive response for the radio show and the podcast. I’ve seen that it’s No. 1 in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand – and has done well in America, Mexico and Australia. That’s incredible! I’ve always been surprised by The Listening Party. It’s the simplicity that makes it work. Anybody could have thought it up, but they didn’t.”

The Listening Party has branched out into many forms. Which one is most exciting for you?

“We’ve done two books [The Listening Party Volumes 1 & 2] and I’m sure there are going to be more. It’s crazy, during Covid I was told that people were selling The Listening Party on my behalf to TV companies all over the world, and I had no clue about it. I’m sure those people would have come to me had they been successful in selling it. The next step for me is live, and I think the opportunities will come. We’ve done live events, which have been fantastic. We did Latitude a couple of years ago, and we’re going to do another one there with James Acaster and his new project Temps.”

What have been some of the best moments from the podcasts you’ve done so far?

“There have been some funny moments. I was talking to The Edge about one of my favourite tracks from the U2 album [Songs Of Surrender] and I said that Bono sounded really youthful on this particular track, to which The Edge replied, ‘That’s actually me singing’, which was fantastic. Or there was Dave Davies from The Kinks having to go to the bathroom during the interview. There has been powerful stuff, too. Skin from Skunk Anansie discussed the band’s first album [1995’s Paranoid & Sunburnt], and the song Weak – she went into stuff about her early life that was very intense. She revealed that she’d been abused by an older man, which was something she’d never said before, so was very emotional. I thought it was an amazing thing that she felt safe enough to talk to me about it.”

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