The internet’s long been amazing place to discover music, and these web series follow in this tradition. Most of them go deeper, showing the history behind major hits, the knowledge of “super fans,” the world of Broadway musical casting, the process of music video choreography, and the life of artists on the road.
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A short and sweet competition series, “Super Fan Showdown” pits two major fans of an artist against each other in YouTuber Justin James Hughes basement. The questions and challenges are fun and lighthearted (I mean, how could they not be?), and the earnest enthusiasm of each “super fan” can be a joy to behold. The competitions tend to focus on pop stars (Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande) in this Vevo series.
This is a really well done show about casting Broadway musicals. The characters are complete, believable, and funny, and the cast members who play them are accomplished, with Broadway, TV credits, and even an Emmy scattered amongst them. Mostly, the show is smart for picking up on the true, comedic potential of showcasing a bunch of auditions and making a series about musicals sharp without being corny.
This documentary web series by Complex tells important stories behind the songs we all (think we) know and love. Candid talk from artists and labels makes the show a resource for invaluable perspectives on rap and hip hop history. Artists featured in the series include Common, LL Cool J, Ma$e, and Ice Cube. In addition to their commentary, the series shows footage from around the time the songs of focus were released. It’s a great back and forth from old, grainy images to current close-ups of the artists talking. You can watch the web series here.
This lively series goes behind the scenes of music videos, exploring the choreography that accompanies songs like Pharrell’s “Happy” and Sia’s “Elastic Heart.” The dance focus is because the show is on video platform DanceOn.
This new web series is one of the flagship ones for SXSW’s streaming network. It’s a pretty straightforward documentary of musicians on tour. The show starts off with a “mature language” warning and kind of disappoints on that front. Otherwise, lots of great shots make up the series and really solid music moves it forward. There are only two episodes out so far, and you can watch them here.