Writing about music can be considered one of the more rigorous entertainment reporting jobs for a number of reasons. For one, there is a vast amount of music available now, as the internet offers itself as a platform for both big and small bands to be heard by everyone. Also, music is a very subjective art form and it’s often difficult to state that one type of music is better than another, for each person hears the same song a slightly different way. Lastly, describing music is no easy task, as most readers don’t understand the complexities of music theory or even how to play most instruments. This forces many freelance music writers and staff music reviewers to describe bands by comparing them to other bands, past and present.
Still, with the glut of music out there, there is a real demand for competent freelance music writers. Before attempting to write about music yourself, you and other aspiring music journalists must have a bit of training. First and foremost, a keen ear for music is a must-have. Listening to bands that you love before they become popular is a good sign of this talent. Having music history and theory knowledge is another good foundation for freelance music writers, as it will give these individuals something to reference when writing in the future. Reading music reviews is also key. Check out Rolling Stone, Paste, Pitchfork and a number of other important music publications and websites. To reiterate, writing about music is no easy task. The more freelance music writers read of successful music writing by professional music journalists, the better equipped they’ll be to write a cogent music piece themselves.
Actually writing about music as much as possible for many publications is a career-enhancing strategy that many individuals follow. Pick your favorite band and review their next album, or go to a random concert and review the experience. Try to interview a band or two and write a profile on their music. Most of these will be done for free or very low pay to start off, but you will build a solid portfolio of music writing that you can then show an editor to be hired for a real music journalism job. Besides, writing about music isn’t about making a lot of money—it’s about the joy of writing about music.
E.K. is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.