How to Become a Music Journalist?

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How to Become a Music Journalist

Music Journalism is an emerging and thrilling field that allows music aficionados to engage with musicians and review music for a living. However, the competition is fierce, and knowing where to start might be tricky, making it a difficult business to break into. Aspirants must have a passion for music, be up to date with all the newest news and releases, and also be skilled in writing. In this blog, we will learn how to become a Music Journalist and will look at the top colleges that you can consider to become a successful Music Journalist.

What is Music Journalism?

Source: Vox

Music Journalism falls under the media domain and involves media criticism and reporting about music topics, including popular music, classical music, and traditional music.  A Music Journalist is a person who specializes in music trends, writing music reviews, interviewing top artists, knowledge of music theory as well as arts. Music Journalists can operate as bloggers or vloggers on a freelance basis. reviews, interviews, industry news, opinion articles, and features are examples of typical work projects.

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What does a Music Journalist do?

Let’s go through the various responsibilities undertaken by a Music Journalist.

  • Report & Research

As a journalist, you’ll spend your time investigating and obtaining information. Writing a feature or opinion article allows for a bit more personal commentary which should be detailed and well-researched.

Depending on your job, you may also be required to hunt for articles, interviews, or chances for performance reviews. For every aspiring journalist, having an ear to the ground and contacts in your city is essential.

  • Cross-disciplinary Communication

Music Journalists can choose from a number of platforms. The more skills you have – whether it’s in art, photography, research, musicology, or video editing – the more possibilities you’ll have. For example, photojournalism is a separate industry within the music industry. The majority of Music Journalists are also required to be photographers. You can also focus on this as a speciality, especially at lower levels or in smaller organizations.  Furthermore, some Music Journalists have reported receiving briefs that required them to write a review entirely in emojis and share it on social media.

  • Preparing Erratic Schedules

Working under tight deadlines (e.g., having a 2000-word review done by 9 a.m. the morning after a gig) is usual for a journalist. There will most likely be moments of great hustle followed by periods of calm. Expect late nights and unpredictable hours, especially if you’re a reviewer. This is particularly true for freelancers and authors who contribute to weekly or monthly magazines. Personal organization and administration are essential for efficiently managing your time and meeting obligations.

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How to Become a Music Journalist?

Here is a step-by-step guide to becoming a Music Journalist.

Start Writing Music Reviews

Once you’ve decided to pursue a career in music journalism, the first step is to gain experience doing what you want to do: writing about music. Make a list of your favourite albums to review, as well as your perceptions of live performances. Develop a keen eye for detail and treat your work with respect, even if it’s only on a basic level.

Journalism is a 24-hour job, and critics in the music industry are no exception. You should be researching music when you’re not writing about it. Keep up with major artists’ activities, pay attention to big announcements, and pick up new releases as they become available. You’re mining for material to use in your work when you research music news.

Obtain a Journalism or Communications Degree

Consider enrolling in a Bachelor’s Degree Programme focused on writing at your local community college or university. While a degree isn’t required to work as a music critic, it will enhance your credentials. The type of work you do in college will help you improve your language skills and may even allow you to make contacts who can assist you in the future. Here are the top courses in Journalism.

Students can also complete courses in music like BA in Music, MA in Music or certificate courses.

Bring Efficiency to Your Writing Style

Make an effort to write frequently. It is said that practice makes perfect. Concentrate on writing clips (critical pieces such as Reviews, Interviews, Features, And Editorials) in a concise, punchy style that will catch people’s attention and make them pay attention. Learn to write quickly to simulate working under pressure. Resume listings are nice, but nothing matters more to music publication hiring directors than how good a contributor’s writing is.

Create a Portfolio

Once you’ve begun writing clips, compile them into a portfolio that you can display to potential clients. Prospective employers will be able to assess your style and determine whether you would be a good fit for their publication if you have samples of your work collected in one place. To go into your portfolio, choose your best work. You can send in selections to go along with your work experience once you start applying for jobs.

Make Contacts in the Business of Music Journalism

While getting your foot in the door, form cordial professional connections with the people you meet. Try to recall every name and face you come across since you never know when someone might be able to help you later. Be pleasant, friendly, and easy to deal with. People will remember you when there is significant work to be done if they see how serious your passion for music is.

Provide your Services on a Freelance Basis

Even if you don’t land a job with a respected publication straight away, you may still make a livelihood as a Music Journalist. Continue to make videos and search for opportunities to work as a freelancer. Many smaller publications and websites welcome guest contributions. As a freelance agent, it might be difficult to obtain steady employment and you may not be well reimbursed, but don’t give up.

Alternative Career as an Editor

For most music journalists, the job of an editor is the most desired. Reaching the position of editor is an achievable goal if you work hard enough for long enough. As an editor, you’ll be able to choose which articles to publish, supervise the work of staff writers, and even produce special interest pieces on themes of your choice. Editors will also benefit from a variety of additional benefits, including free concert tickets, backstage passes, early access to news and music releases, and opportunities to interview artists.

Must Read: Top Mass Communication Colleges

Top 10 Music Journalism Schools

Below is a list of schools across the world that offer degrees in journalism, you consider applying to one of them to study Music Journalism or related fields:

College/University Location
Emerson College Boston, MA
Northwestern University Evanston, IL
The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX
Boston University Boston, MA
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
University of Missouri-Columbia Columbia, MO
New York University New York, NY
Washington and Lee University Lexington, VA
Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
American University Washington, DC

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Scope and Salary of a Music Journalist

Music Journalists might work for a company or as freelancers. Freelancers are paid on a project-by-project basis; they may be paid by word count (a predetermined sum for each word) or by negotiating a flat price in advance. Music Journalists that work for specific magazines are typically paid a predetermined salary, but they may be given a base rate plus a performance bonus on occasion. Bonuses for performance are very popular in online journalism. However, if we speak about the average salary of a Music Journalist, an individual may earn somewhere around INR 4 to 11 lakhs per annum.

Music Journalism is a highly competitive industry, so be persistent. Opportunities may take a long time to present themselves. A career in Music Journalism is perfect if you enjoy music and feel like the musical path is what you want to follow for the rest of your life. Connect with Leverage Edu experts if you’re planning to pursue a career in this unique field and need guidance with universities abroad and suitable scholarships.

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