How to Break into Music Journalism
The world of journalism has changed dramatically over the years with the emergence of digital journalism. As a professional journalist, you must develop a niche or an expertise on a topic. If music is your passion, here are some helpful tips to get the ball rolling:
Submit a Music Review to a Publication
Go to a local concert in your area and review a show or an album. For the freelance music writer, it might be easier to review an album that’s on any digital music library (Spotify) for free that you can easily download to your computer, or you can use your own music library on ITunes. This way you don’t have to make a purchase. Give your honest opinion of the album (good or bad) and then submit it to a major publication or local website to see if it actually gets published. If it does and they don’t pay you, at least it will definitely give you a byline and gain attention from readers. If your review gets rejected, don’t give up or get discouraged on your first try. If at first you don’t succeed, try again!
Start-up a Music Blog
Get your work noticed by starting a music blog using a free blog site such as WordPress or Blogger. Then either set up your own website or Facebook page if you don’t already have one and post links to your new music blog. Make your blog stand out by posting video, photos, and cool colorful templates. Then call a few publicists and set up some interviews. If you’re lucky, you might receive press credentials to review a show or interview an artist. The business of music journalism is all word-of-mouth and is all about networking and making valuable connections that could lead you a full-time position down the road.
Join a Music or Entertainment Website for Minimal Wage
In this economy, publications unfortunately don’t pay as high as they used to. Research a music website that might be interested in accepting your work and send links to your blog or website containing your most recent articles and freelance for them. They will not likely hire you full time, but they may offer you a freelance position. Pitch the editor a few story ideas. It could be about a local artist coming to town and a short blog which is recommended for beginners. Or if you’re an advanced music aficionado like me, suggest an artist to interview by phone or email. If one publication declines your idea, go to the next one. If you get consent and land the interview, be prepared, research everything on that artist and don’t be starstruck when you speak to the celebrity. Try to remain calm and professional. They’re only human.
Join a Group of Writers and Network
There are several groups and networks of writers that are in the same situation you are. It might be a good idea to surf the internet for a group that meets your needs and requirements. You never know; there just might be an employer in the group who is out there looking for your work! Once you find your perfect networking group, bring some samples of your work to the meeting.
I hope this provides some helpful suggestions for you to acheive your goals in this competitive industry. Good luck and happy writing!
Suzanne R is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.