You don't need to know the difference between a flugelhorn and a flumpet to appreciate a good music documentary. With the right mix of charismatic and offbeat personalities, rigorous attention to detail, and a judicious limitation of outright hagiography, the result can be simply a great movie (see: Dont Look Back).
Of course, loving the subject only makes a music doc more enjoyable, and Netflix has a solid selection of music docs to help you wile away the hours pondering what it would be like if you had become a rock 'n' roll star.
Want even MORE documentaries? Check out the best docs and docuseries available to stream on Netflix, and the best documentaries of 2021.
Die-hard rap fans have known since The Notorious B.I.G.’s second and final studio album Life After Death that the legendary Brooklyn rapper had a story to tell, but this Netflix’s documentary about the hip-hop icon reveals how so much of his story has actually gone overlooked. Thanks to rare footage captured by Biggie’s childhood friend Damion “D-Roc” Butler and archived in-depth interviews, Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell offers an expansive look at Christopher Wallace’s meteoric rise as a rapper, his evolving psyche, and his unrealized ambitions. Rather than yet another doc focused on the lead-up to his still unsolved murder, this must-watch feature celebrates his life and adds a bit of light to the dark cloud surrounding his untimely death.
Need to be immersed in a world of sexy, saccharine pop perfection? Let Ariana Grande help you with that. This tour documentary sits you in the front row on the London stop of Ari's Sweetener World Tour to see her dazzling performances of hits like "God Is a Woman," "7 Rings," and many others. Because the concert doc, directed by longtime music documentarian Paul Dugdale, can at times feel manufactured to tailor to Grande's controlled image—she is credited as an executive producer—you won't find much unveiled about her personality or the music industry beyond what appears under the spotlight. That doesn't deny the pop star's allure or talent, though: Fans of her music will be served a bubblegum pop delight on a silver platter.