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‘Rock is NOT dead,’ says rock and metal podcast host on music discovery and community-building

Chord Progression podcast host Kevin Hellestad shares his story

By Kyle J. Russell

Stock image of a podcast mic in front of a PC monitor
(Image: Pexels)

The evolution of music consumption

No one knows the exact origins of music. Some say it’s as old as humanity itself. But one thing is for sure—music is universally present across civilizations and eras. It’s only how music is consumed that has evolved, primarily due to technological advancements, societal changes, and cultural shifts.

Think of the invention of the phonograph in the late 19th century and the later domination of vinyl records for much of the 20th century. They ultimately redefined music consumption. People would flock to record stores to discover new tunes, flipping through crates, searching for their next favorite album, and discussing them with fellow music enthusiasts.

The radio also emerged as a popular medium. As it allows millions to listen to broadcast music simultaneously, it became a platform for established artists and up-and-coming musicians to reach a wider audience. Meanwhile, the latter half of the 20th century paved the way for cassette tapes, CDs, and, eventually, digital downloads, enabling people to carry their favorite songs wherever they went.

The rigital Revolution: Streaming and its impact

Still, it wasn’t until the internet age that music consumption underwent its most intensive change. Everyone can now listen to any kind of music anytime, anywhere, thanks to streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Pandora, and more. With these, music is now a service that can be accessed on demand, presenting limitless opportunities for exploration and discovery.

Because of the drastic change in how individuals consumed music over the years, some might say that the sense of community, which has always been an integral part of music consumption, has already been lost. Kevin Hellestad, a music enthusiast (and a moshing madman), believes otherwise.

One could argue that the community aspect is stronger than ever. After all, streaming platforms have created virtual spaces where music lovers can share their passion, exchange recommendations, and initiate discourse through social features like curated and collaborative playlists and artist recommendations.

The Chord Progression podcast builds a community hub

Kevin notes that traditional avenues for engaging with fellow music lovers, such as attending live shows, have become less accessible because of many factors, like rising costs (not to mention the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic). Given this context, online spaces keep the music communities alive. He acknowledges, however, that they might often lack the depth of connection compared to physical communities. Kevin then created the Chord Progression Podcast, a space where individuals can share their love for music and discover new artists.

Chord Progression podcast logo
Chord Progression podcast (Image: Provided)

In 2017, Kevin found himself in the grips of depression. It’s not an over-exaggeration to say that music became his saving grace. Having newfound hope thanks to rock and metal music, Kevin wanted to provide an avenue for the genre’s musicians and fans seeking connection and acceptance.

He first thought of designing a “song of the day” app. Existing platforms provide limited offerings, so Kevin aimed to provide a more curated experience for music lovers and present them with lesser-known tracks from beloved artists. Unfortunately, the venture didn’t resonate with him as much as he had hoped. Therefore, he pivoted toward podcasting. It was a natural fit, given that he can discuss music while helping emerging artists.

Listeners of the Chord Progression Podcast can connect with their favorite bands and gain insight into the inner workings of the music industry. Kevin initiates profound discussions with rock and metal artists, allowing fans to discover the creative workflow of their favorite musicians and understand the factors that make the bands succeed or fall from fame.

On supporting emerging artists

When asked what he desires to achieve from this platform, Kevin answers, “I continue to stay on the mission of trying to support younger rock and metal artists to bring them to light, to the forefront. If we’re not supporting the next generation, then the genre of rock and metal and all its subgenres are going to stagnate. Ten years ago, people kept saying, ‘Rock is dead.’ It is, in fact, very much alive. And I intend to keep it that way.”

This motivation comes from Kevin’s belief that nurturing new talent is crucial in ensuring the continued growth and vitality of the music industry. Streaming platforms have democratized access to music for independent artists. They don’t need to rely on record labels and can now independently release their music to a global audience with just a few clicks.

The problem is that following this accessibility is a flood of competition. For example, with approximately 60,000 songs being uploaded to Spotify every single day, how can new artists stand out and make noise? Kevin’s podcast bridges this gap by inviting artists to share their stories and help them connect with fans.

The power of dialogue

Each episode, released every week on Tuesdays and Thursdays, is sure to draw music enthusiasts because of its substance and quality. One example that showcases the depth of the podcast’s content is Kevin’s conversation in an upcoming episode with a musician who had been following the podcast since high school and recently started a band. They discussed the challenges of starting a band in today’s music landscape. It’s this raw and authentic dialogue that makes the Chord Progression Podcast stand out.

Meanwhile, in another episode, Kevin welcomed a punk metal band comprising three Muslim women. Their conversation revolved around the intersection of faith and music, diving deep into why the band chose to express their religious beliefs through this genre. The episode resonates with listeners for its thought-provoking insights and the band’s unique perspective on the role of faith in their music.

It’s also worth noting that Kevin has succeeded in creating a safe and encouraging space for artists, allowing them to share the inspiration behind their music. The podcast host recounts a memorable episode where a band member opened up about his experiences in a church and the trauma he endured. With the support of Kevin and his fellow band members, he was able to share something deeply personal to him and shed light on an often taboo subject. 

Celebrating music diversity

Besides supporting emerging and established rock and metal artists, the podcast aims to become an avenue for rock and metal enthusiasts from all walks of life to celebrate their shared love for music. It welcomes even nonfans of the genre, encouraging all types of listeners to embrace the thrill of discovering new music and expanding their musical tastes. In other words, the Chord Progression Podcast is the perfect destination for those looking for fresh and innovative music.

Stream Publishing was not involved in the creation of this content