A Conversation With Anthony Fantano

Anthony Fantano is an American music critic, interviewer, YouTuber and internet personality known for his music-related YouTube channel ‘The Needle Drop”.

You have an impressive 2,300,000+ subscribers on your main Youtube channel and were recently profiled by the N.Y. Times in September 2020. As your brand continues to grow, does the role of being a content creator become easier or more difficult? 

I think when you’re doing anything for this long, you do fall into a groove with it. I think that’s the point that I’m at now. The most recent development is learning to hire other people because there was a long time when I feel like I toiled very much independently. There wasn’t a budget to hire or work with anyone else in the beginning. And even after the point where there was, I was still figuring out how to be a manager or a boss. I hate that word. But trying to figure out how to do that, on top of creating content, is even more difficult. There are still aspects of what I do that I’m still learning to do well, and a lot of it is behind the scenes stuff that nobody really knows or understands. Because, you know, all they see at the end of the day is the review, but they don’t see everything that needs to occur for the content to happen. I’m trying to get better every day doing that stuff and trying to be better at bringing other people in on those processes so it can be done efficiently. So yeah, I think it’s becoming easier. But even as things get comfortable, I then learn about new things that I could be doing or should be doing. And when I understand what those things are, I have to go out and learn to do them. There are always new challenges to take on even when things seem to be easy, you know?

Walk us through your listening & review process. How many times do you have to hear a record until you break it down? Do you keep notes? Is there a strict routine? 

On average, I would say four to six times, and I do keep notes. And I would say that there is a strict routine given that I have to put out reviews regularly. So, as a result, there is a strict listening routine, a strict digestion routine, I guess you could say. And again, if you were watching it from the outside, it would be very much like watching grass grow—concentrating, writing notes, doing a little bit of research online, etc. I’m not an encyclopedia, and I have to be reminded of things. But there’s definitely a process, and I will spend some of the early listening sessions hearing the record casually and just getting a general sense for it instead of diving into the nitty-gritty of a record immediately. With a record, there’s a macro and a micro picture, and I find personally it’s a bit easier to write a review if I can take a little bit more time with it without feeling a time crunch. I can write an entire review of just nothing but micro-details from front-to-back of…

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