Netflix is a great source of music documentaries. I love watching documentaries on Netflix in general and often get motivated to work on my own stuff.
I have put together this list of 10 must-watch music documentaries that are currently available on Netflix. There are a couple that are not necessarily music documentaries but can help any artist to think outside the box and push their limits. So you can also call this a musician’s guide to Netflix.
Let’s not waste anymore time. Grab your remote/device and get started.
1. The Creative Brain (2019)
This is not exactly a music documentary but a neuroscience based approach to finding creativity. And I intentionally put this first on the list as this documentary was the most inspiring to me personally among all from this list.
Neuroscientist David Eagleman taps into the creative process of various innovators while exploring brain-bending, risk-taking ways to spark creativity.
Director: David Eagleman
Runtime: 52 min
2. How the Beatles changed the world (2017)
Who doesn’t love the Beatles? But we often take them for granted. This documentary shows how this gigantic band of four fantastic musicians (John, Paul, George, Ringo) changed the world forever.
Four mop-topped musicians from Liverpool change the way the world sees itself as they blaze a path through the 1960s.
Director: Tom O’Dell
Runtime: 90 min | 110 min (Netflix)
3. Echo in the canyon (2018)
I came across this very recently and this was definitely one of the best made music documentaries I have ever watched. A must watch for all music lovers.
A look at the roots of the historic music scene in L.A.’s Laurel Canyon featuring the music of iconic groups such as The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, and The Mamas and the Papas.
Director: Andrew Slater
Runtime: 82 min
4. ReMastered: Devil at the Crossroads (2019)
I always wanted to sell my soul to the devil to learn the guitar the devil’s way. But the devil never agreed. If you are a guitarist, you must be familiar with the 80’s drama Crossroads (1986) featuring Steve Vai. This short documentary gets into the life of the blues guitar legend Robert Johnson.
A look at the short, mysterious life of blues legend, Robert Johnson, who was said to have made a deal with the Devil at a crossroads in rural Mississippi.
Director: Brian Oakes
5. Abstract: The Art of Design
This Netflix original docu-series is made for designers, but very resourceful for any musician.
A look beyond blueprints and computers into the art and science of design, showcasing great designers from every discipline whose work shapes our world.
6. Quincy (2018)
Quincy is a beast of a musician/producer that shaped the modern pop world. Co-directed by Quincy’s daughter ‘Rashida Jones’, this documentary takes a personal look into the man’s life.
You’ve heard his songs, including some of the biggest hits of our time. Now meet the extraordinary man behind the music.
Directors: Rashida Jones, Alan Hicks
7. Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage (2010)
R.I.P Neil Peart. Go beyond the lighted stage with the godfathers of progressive rock ‘Rush’.
An in-depth look at the Canadian rock band Rush, chronicling the band’s musical evolution from their progressive rock sound of the ’70s to their current heavy rock style.
Directors: Sam Dunn, Scot McFadyen
Runtime: 107 min
8. Hiphop Evolution
Whether you are a hip-hop fan or not, this docu-series is a must watch for all musicians.
MC and journalist Shad Kabango meets with Hip-Hop’s biggest stars to retrace how Hip-Hop became the world’s most popular music, but realizes that Hip-Hop’s true legacy is something much more profound.
9. Ill sleep when I’m dead (2016)
I was not familiar with Steve Aoki, but this documentary was very inspiring to see the level of hard-work artists and musicians put into their work.
His high-octane personality and drive made this DJ a star. His dad’s extraordinary legacy keeps pushing him further.
Director: Justin Krook
Runtime: 79 min
10. Oasis: Supersonic (2016)
Can’t leave the brothers out since I play in a band called Brothers in Madness. You would like the drama between the brothers even if you are not a big fan of the band.
This film details the rise of British rock group Oasis and the creativity and chaos that brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher brought to the iconic band.
Director: Mat Whitecross
Runtime: 122 min
This list is based entirely on my personal opinion and there are plenty of other great music documentaries on Netflix as well as other streaming platforms. But these are the ones that I like most.
Did you watch all of them? Which one is your favorite? Do you wanna suggest something that is not listed here? Which one will you watch next? Please let me know in the comments…