Grab some popcorn and check out this roundup of five music documentaries. Explore films following music culture and the life stories of influential artists.
Netflix Music Documentaries
Netflix has plenty of great documentaries for music fans. We narrowed down a list of five excellent options currently available on the service. These films explore the history of music and its influence on culture. They also follow the careers, life stories, accomplishments, and struggles of some of the music industry’s most influential musicians.
1. Avicii: True Stories
Avicii: True Stories expose the intensity of fame and how it takes a toll on a musician’s mental health. The 2017 documentary tells the story behind Swedish musician Avicii, born Tim Bergling. The film traces Avicii’s beginnings, rapid rise to fame, and subsequent struggles with physical and mental health.
Extensive footage from Avicii’s personal archive takes you behind-the-scenes of his childhood and musical career. The film also follows Avicii for over four years, as he tours the world. See footage capturing his career experiences and creation of mega-hits like ‘Levels’ and ‘Wake Me Up.’ While highlighting the highs of Bergling’s life, the film also exposes the devastating consequences of nonstop traveling and exhaustion. It also reveals the choices he faced and his thoughts at the time only six months before the DJ tragically passed away.
The film also features appearances by colleagues such as Chris Martin, Nile Rodgers, David Guetta, and Wyclef.
Rapture is a documentary series exploring hip hop’s impact on global culture. The eight-episode season dives into the lives of rap stars like Nas, T.I., Logic, Dave East, Rapsody, Logic, G-Eazy, Just Blaze, A-Boogie, and 2 Chainz. This vibrant documentary also takes you into their studios, tours, private lives, and desire to hustle.
3. FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened
Remember the Fyre Festival? The Ja Rule-backed musical experience was supposed to be the festival of the century, putting Coachella to shame. Fyre was promoted as a luxury music festival on a private island in the Bahamas featuring bikini-clad supermodels, A-List musical performances, and posh amenities. Instead, guests arrived to discover a complete disaster that unearthed criminal activity and one of the biggest scams in history.
FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened is a fascinating documentary that provides an in-depth look at the failed music festival and its criminal mastermind, Billy McFarland. The cocky entrepreneur defrauded investors and workers out of millions. The film uncovers this massive fraud and the infamous unraveling of the Fyre Festival.
4. Sample This
Sample This reveals how a forgotten song called “Apache” by the Incredible Bongo Band helped cement the foundation of hip hop when DJ Herc extended its percussion break in 1973. The breakbeat became an anthem on the streets of the Bronx and the genre of hip hop. Apache also became one of the most sampled tracks in history. It’s heard in music from rap to pop by some of the biggest artists in the industry. This 2013 documentary also traces the cultural impact of sampling, the fascinating characters involved in the song’s evolution, and a series of wild events.
The film also features archived footage and interviews with Afrika Bambaataa, Questlove, Freda Payne, Melle Mel, Jerry Butler, among others.
5. 27: Gone Too Soon
Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse all died at the age of 27. 27: Gone Too Soon explores the circumstances surrounding the tragic deaths of these famous musicians who died at the age of 27. The 2018 film investigates the lives, music, and artistry of these lost icons. It also features footage and interviews with musicians, music critics, and medical experts.