How to start a Career in Music Journalism

Music journalists are more plentiful than what you might imagine. You are consuming their work in many places but may not have thought about it before. Here are some of their responsibilities:

  • Writing about artists, doing feature stories.
  • Reviewing a band's performance for a magazine or newspaper
  • Writing for entertainment magazines like People
  • Writing about new trends in music
  • Reviewing new CDs
  • Writing about new releases, deaths, marriages, illnesses, deaths in the music business
  • Writing for music blogs
  • Writing opinion pieces about artists or the music business in general
  • Writing about the music business for TV news shows

The music journalist might be employed by a newspaper or magazine or might be a freelancer, that is, working for themselves and generating copy that is purchased by a variety of media sources. The journalist and the manager might be at odds with one another. The last thing an artist needs is an article that paints a poor picture. The job of the manager in part is to protect the artist from just such a thing.

Still, a hungry audience for music likes to hear about new technology used in music, and in the nitty-gritty of the business. Who else but a music journalist can do the job?

Here are some of the media venues for music journalists:

  • Tabloids - tend toward gossip and fabrication
  • Broadsheets - jobs usually for career writers with loads of experience
  • Magazines for teens/women - Opportunities here for freelancers since information is more mainstream
  • Music magazines
  • Local press
  • The Internet - there is a great deal of information about music on the web
  • E-Zines about music

Working as a music journalist is great for some perks such as free CDs, access to artists, invitations to parties, and a touch of glamour.

The pay is low, however, competition is fierce, and the music journalist always runs the risk of making someone really angry.

  • How does a person get in the door? Must be:
  • A good writer
  • Tons of music knowledge, bordering on the savant
  • Love of music
  • Determination

It's always best to start small. Do reviews of local performances and get them published in a smaller paper. Write, write, write. Find out who is looking for freelance work in music, and contact them.