5 Secrets To Music Journalism

Looking to get into music journalism? It isn't always easy, but if you work hard and don't give up you're well on your way.

Music Journalism is a small subsection of the news world at large. Long linked to gossipy tabloids, there is actually an heir of fine art that comes with the most bubble-gum pop album review. Prior to the onset of the internet, there were only a few successful print publications to point to. Today, the music journalist is much more a fan, and can cover specific genres, artists, and record companies. This has also made the artist more accessible as musicians attempt to market themselves to a specific demographic.

This has blown the doors wide open for what constitutes as a music journalist. For those who just like to write, their are countless online publications and zines to assist in getting your name to the masses. For those that are looking for a more permanent career, keep in mind that it is a slow process of social networking, tireless self-marketing, with a little bit of luck that can align you with the right PR to land the right access to artists. Although anyone can have the chance to write, you should have some writing chops as well. Below are 5 secrets to succeeding in the music journalism field.

Write For Free

As we all want to make money, no one likes to do anything for free. However, if you are serious about a career in music journalism, it comes with the territory. Many media outlets are on a fixed budget or are running a blog or online magazine simply because they love music. This generally means there is no income coming in. Be prepared to stick to deadlines, work with artists, and write profusely because you know if it will pay off in the end, but not at the beginning. Also, having published work is always great for your resume so even if you’re not getting paid to write it could lead to potential paid jobs. 

Go Big or Go Home 

While you are looking at sites, building a portfolio and social networking your butt off, keep in mind that musicians want to get their music out to the masses. As a writer who loves to write and has a passion for the subject matter, that means saying yes to any and all writing assignments that come your way. It also means reaching out to those PR camps who you think are worthy. There may be some that won’t respond, but there may be some that will take a chance on a greener than most writer. Those are good firms to build relationships with. It’s a mutually positive thing. The writer receives a feather in their cap, the PR firm receives free press – win – win.

Take Self-Marketing Seriously and Build a Portfolio

There is no such thing as too much self-marketing, especially as a writer. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, all those social media sites have the potential to reach millions. That being said, that million doesn’t always happen. You may be lucky to get 10 likes on a particular post, but so what, those 10 people liked your stuff, next time it might be 11. And if you’re lucky, the artist will share your write-up on their social media page, exposing you to an even bigger audience. This is a good place to start an online portfolio as well. Take all your writings and store them on a website or folder with links to their original destinations. As you get more of an audience and spread your wings, you will have a link to share with potential writing partners and showcase what you’ve already accomplished.

If You Don’t Have Thick Skin, You Better Get Some

It’s natural to hold your thoughts dear to your heart. It can be a little intimidating to put them into the world. Not everyone is going to like what you write, it’s just reality. There will be critiques, comments and possibly silence, which can be just as deafening. The important thing to remember is that you can’t please everyone all the time and if you started writing opinion pieces to please the reader, you might want to try something else. If those critiques come, and they will, have thick skin and absorb the punches. Get back on that figurative horse and use it as fuel for your next piece.

You Must Be Passionate

The last, and maybe most important thing of all in music journalism, is to have passion for your source material. You don’t always have to like what you write about, but you should have a burning passion to want to write, especially about music. Without the passion to write, the first four on this list don’t mean much.

Good luck, it’s a big world and there is a lot of music in it. Regardless of whether you make money or not, you will have a good time.

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