I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite YouTube channels for music and audio. These are essentially the ones I watch the most frequently, learn the most from, or simply just enjoy watching most frequently.
And, if you don’t already know about them, maybe you’ll enjoy them too!
1) Christian Henson Composer
Christian is a bit like a Dr Who of media composing. As well as being a full-time composer, he manages to co-run Spitfire Audio AND find the time for this amazingly insightful video channel. I don’t know how he does it. He also has a wife and kids!
But I’m very glad he does do it because his videos are a brilliant source of tips, tricks, industry information and also… humour. He spent the best part of the Christmas period dressed as a dinosaur after all.
His channel really is an absolute goldmine of useful information for composers, sound designers and even sample developers. He is incredibly generous with his knowledge and it is all very entertainingly expressed. His channel is the pinnacle of how this sort of thing should be done.
Another bonus of subscribing is that you do get some nice teases of upcoming Spitfire releases, as well as free samples and the opportunity to hear some of his music – because it is worth noting that Christian is a really very excellent composer. And that’s why the insights he shares are so valuable.
2) Telekom Electronic Beats
Now, before you run away thinking I’ve gone mad… yes, this channel is predominantly dedicated to techno and European house music. And yes, a good percentage of the videos are in German (though they are subtitled). But, stay with me because… this channel is awesome.
It doesn’t hurt to have some interest in techno, but I think there’s a lot to learn from this channel even if you’re not into dance music.
Firstly, the videos are brilliantly shot. Really artistic stuff, but not in a way that detracts from what anybody’s saying. Interviews with artists happen in cars, in their kitchens, on the beach, at abandoned municipal swimming pools… there’s even one where the artist is collecting mushrooms (no, not those types of mushrooms) in a local forest.
The interviews are a great watch because you actually realise that people who take their music seriously are the same, no matter what the genre. The things that inspire composers are really not so different to techno producers, and that for me is a real pleasure to discover.
Alongside the interviews, there are also studio tours, which are great if you’re a hardware junkie like myself. There’s also great footage from concerts, focuses on gear developers and record labels, and generally just a superb catalogue of videos about the whole techno scene in Europe.
Dig in, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
3) Woody Piano Shack
Woody is an English synth enthusiast living in Sweden (yes, he is living my dream, haha!). The vibe is that of an enthusiastic amateur, where Woody focuses on the things he likes best, rather than trying to be cutting edge or focusing on the latest trends/releases.
He’s a big fan of Roland and Nord gear, so they feature very regularly. Sometimes his interest in unwieldy arranger style keyboards is a bit odd, but what stands out on this channel is the humour, the honesty and the charm. It’s quite nerdy, a little bit old skool, but the great thing is that Woody speaks from the heart and investigates his subjects with real integrity. He’s a really nice guy and a very engaging host.
You also get the occasional glimpses into his life in Sweden, which appeals to me. Lots of shots of lakes and trees.
Also, he recently lost his job, so is making a go of trying to do the YouTube thing full-time. Check him out and give him your support. He’s a good guy.
This is such a charmingly simple channel. It’s a bit like having tech reviews directed by Wes Anderson.
The format is simple, each video reviews a guitar pedal. There’s no voiceover, all the communication is done via artistic text and the sounds coming out of the pedals. It’s such a simple and beautifully constructed idea. Very minimal in style, and yet, it delivers a hell of a lot of information in a short space of time. If there’s a pedal you’re interested in, and it’s on Knobs, you’ll know everything you need to know about it by the end of the video.
But it’s not a guitar channel, per se. Often there are synths and other acoustic sounds run through the pedals. And the channel is also branching out into focusing on particular hardware developers and even sometimes other gear, like samplers and drum machines.
But the main thing is, it’s a joy to watch. Even if you’re not interested in effects pedals, it’s so aesthetically and sonically pleasing you can’t help but smile whilst watching these reviews.
5) Spitfire Audio
Oh no, not Henson again! Well, yes and no. Mostly yes, I guess.
There can’t be many people who don’t dig Spitfire Audio’s sample libraries. I love them to bits and use them on everything. But more than that, Spitfire are a company I really admire for the way they go about things. They have a lot of respect for the musicians and artists they work with (and I’ll confess now, I’m one of them, so I am slightly biased in that respect, I guess). They invest a lot time and money into presenting and producing their work in unique and interesting ways, and I think they deserve to be applauded for that.
There is, however, so much more to their channel than just the marketing of their wares.
Yes, there is a host of artfully shot teaser videos, behind the scenes footage and walkthroughs, and all of these make deciding on whether to buy a library from them a much simpler task. But, it is the bonus content that really makes this channel a vault of fascinating information.
My particular favourite elements are the Creative Cribs videos, where you get to see various artists’ studios in all their raw glory. The great thing about these is not just learning about what gear and software composers have but, the fact that everyone really does seem to work in different ways and in different environments. It’s nice to see that there’s no one way of doing things, no single trajectory towards personal glory. Everyone is different, and their studios reflect their personality and quirks.
Dive into the plethora of content Spitfire have produced and be thankful that a sample developer would invest so creatively in helping and entertaining their customers.
What are your favourite YouTube channels about music and music production? Do let me know! I hope mine is one of them (he said, fishing for compliments).