How to Become a Music Journalist: 12 Steps

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How to Become a Music Journalist: 12 Steps
How to Become a Music Journalist: 12 Steps

Music journalism is a fast-paced and exciting profession that allows you to get involved with music in an internal way if you are one of the people who dedicate their lives to it. However, keep in mind that it is not easy to enter this field, as it is intensely competitive and determining where to start could be overwhelming. You need to feel passionate about music, stay up-to-date on the latest news and releases, and be willing to spend time and energy developing your writing skills. If your dream is that your love for music becomes a profession, you can achieve it if you work very hard and have a little patience and a positive attitude.


Part 1 of 3: Developing the necessary skills and training

Become a Music Journalist Step 1
Become a Music Journalist Step 1

Step 1. Start writing music reviews

As soon as you decide that you want to dedicate yourself to music journalism, the first thing you should do is start developing your experience. To do this, you must do what you have the illusion of doing; that is, write about music. You can write reviews of your favorite albums and record your opinions on live concerts. Develop your attention to detail, and even if you are only performing at an amateur level, you should take your own work seriously.

  • Consider the first few reviews you write as your training. Your goal should be to convey your ideas in a clear and engaging way and make sure you say something with every piece you write, even if no one is going to read them.
  • The more you know about the music you are going to review, the better, as a broader understanding will allow you to make better objective reviews and comparisons and also focus on the good and bad aspects of a song, record or performance.
Become a Music Journalist Step 2
Become a Music Journalist Step 2

Step 2. Stay up-to-date on music news

Keep in mind that journalism is an occupation in which you never stop working and the same goes for music critics. In the moments when you don't write about music, you should dedicate yourself to researching it. Stay up-to-date on the activities of larger-scale artists, pay attention to important announcements, and get new releases as soon as they are available. Your research on music news is to provide you with material that you can use in your articles.

Investigation is an important part of every journalist's daily duties. In fact, it could take a lot longer than the actual writing

Become a Music Journalist Step 3
Become a Music Journalist Step 3

Step 3. Read preeminent music publications

He begins to fervently read the leading critics of print journalism, such as Rolling Stone magazine, as well as online publications such as Pitchfork and Stereogum. By reading these media, you will be able to get an idea of what style and content publishers are focusing on and at the same time learn more about music, which will help you become an expert in your craft.

  • If an article is published in an influential medium, this usually means that it is the best of its kind. What strikes you about her style and her message? What do you think articles of this type have in common?
  • In all the posts you read, keep an eye out for potential job openings.
Become a Music Journalist Step 4
Become a Music Journalist Step 4

Step 4. Obtain a degree in the areas of journalism or communications

You may consider enrolling in an undergraduate program at a local college or university that has a focus on writing. To be successful as a music critic, it is not absolutely necessary to have a professional degree, but it is still something you can add to your credentials. Likewise, the type of work that takes place in educational institutions will help you hone your language skills and may give you opportunities to network whose help could be of use to you in the future.

  • If you are ever a runner-up for a job against someone else, having a professional degree could give you an edge to help you get it.
  • Determine if it will be worth the time and money you will invest in studying or if it will be more useful to dedicate your energy to developing your practical experience. Many of the most prominent music journalists became the best without ever having obtained a professional degree.

Part 2 of 3: Get Experience

Become a Music Journalist Step 5
Become a Music Journalist Step 5

Step 1. Perfect your writing style

Practice makes perfect, so you have to write a lot to do this. Focus on making clips (that is, analytical pieces including reviews, interviews, special reports, and feature stories) that are succinct and forceful in style and capture the reader by making them pay attention. Simulate work situations within a deadline by learning to type quickly. While it is an advantage that your resume reflects extensive experience, what matters most to hiring managers of music publications in terms of contributors is the quality of their writing.

  • Pay attention to the articles you read on reputable websites and magazines to determine what you like about them and try to incorporate these elements into your own writing.
  • Your writing should be able to say something unique about the music itself.
Become a Music Journalist Step 6
Become a Music Journalist Step 6

Step 2. Develop your portfolio

When you've started writing clips, put them all in a portfolio that you can then show to those who are interested. Putting all of your work samples in one place will make it easier for potential employers to assess your style and help them determine if you are a good fit for the publication in question. For the portfolio, be sure to choose the best samples of your work. Then, when you start applying for jobs, you can submit a selection of writing pieces to complement your work experience.

  • Start writing a blog. Today, the Internet is the medium where you will find most of the music journalism. A portfolio that will speak highly of you could be a well-designed and popular blog whose title is memorable and whose writing is excellent.
  • While it is okay to publish most of your writing online, it will definitely be to your advantage to have hard copies so that you can distribute them.
Become a Music Journalist Step 7
Become a Music Journalist Step 7

Step 3. Get involved with the local music scene

You can put yourself in the front row of the local music scene to build a reputation in your city. To do this, attend as many presentations as you can and record your opinions about them. This is a great way to meet other journalists, music representatives, and even the artists themselves. In some cities, you might even find periodicals specializing in coverage of local musicians and stages. You could work for one of them or in conjunction with them as a great way to break into the industry.

If your locality does not have a publication where your articles are worth publishing, you can create one yourself. In specialty and alternative music scenes, zines are still quite popular and can be circulated where you think they will receive the most attention

Become a Music Journalist Step 8
Become a Music Journalist Step 8

Step 4. Submit your clips to various magazines and websites

Once your writing appears to be of sufficient quality to be read by a larger audience, submit it to the relevant departments of various music news outlets, whether in print or digital. Talk a bit about yourself and what you are passionate about, and don't forget to include samples of the clips you've made. You are likely to be hired if an editor thinks you will be a great resource for their publication.

  • Know who to contact and where to send your samples. This will give you a more professional and organized impression than if you mass-mailed your writing samples to all the email addresses you can find.
  • Feel free to make unsolicited calls to a publication you would like to work on or you can also simply introduce yourself to their offices. This will emphasize your ambition and make it clear that you will do whatever it takes to achieve your goals.

Part 3 of 3: Progress in your profession

Become a Music Journalist Step 9
Become a Music Journalist Step 9

Step 1. Network within the industry

While you're still starting out, build professional friendships with those with whom you come in contact. Make an effort to remember the names and faces of everyone you run into, since you never know when someone else might help you later. Always be kind, courteous, and an easy person to work with. People will think of you when there is important work to be done if they can see that your interest in music is serious.

  • Although success does not depend solely on your contacts, it will still be useful to be well connected. Having too many friends never hurts.
  • Feel free to do favors for others when you can, as they may help you get an advantage in return.
  • Do your best to make a good impression. People always remember those they liked and also those they disliked.
Become a Music Journalist Step 10
Become a Music Journalist Step 10

Step 2. Offer to work independently

While a reputable publication may not hire you right away, you can still make a living as a music journalist. To do this, do not stop producing clips and keep up to date with possible places that would offer you work independently. For example, many smaller-scale websites and posts receive guest contributions. Do not be discouraged: getting constant work independently is not easy and you will not earn much, but the important thing is to make yourself known and expose yourself as much as you can.

  • Freelance work could be a great way to supplement what you earn as a journalist, and you may even be able to get enough work to do this full-time.
  • You may also find opportunities to use your writing skills by writing the biographies and press materials of the musicians themselves. To do this, you can communicate directly with an artist or their representatives and ask if they would need your services.
Become a Music Journalist Step 11
Become a Music Journalist Step 11

Step 3. Spend time working with a music news outlet

If you do manage to get a job at a music review publication, this in and of itself will get your feet wet in the industry. Therefore, be prepared to work until you can work your way up. Your effort will not go unnoticed if you are faithful, commit to your team and make sure to always present the best quality work. Then after a while, you could be one of the people considered for a raise or promotion.

  • Even if you must start by making coffee or delivering mail, be productive and stay positive. Where you can go will largely be determined by your personality and your work ethic.
  • Even after you've established yourself, always keep an eye out for ways you can improve so that your work continues to stand out.
Become a Music Journalist Step 12
Become a Music Journalist Step 12

Step 4. Become an editor

This position is the most coveted among most journalists and can be an achievable goal for you if you work hard long enough. As an editor, you will have the ability to choose the articles to be published, supervise the work of the staff writers, and even write articles of special interest on your own topics. You can also have many other benefits, such as getting free concert tickets and behind-the-scenes passes, receiving news and new music releases in advance, and having opportunities to interview artists.

When you get to the position of editor, your experience will speak for itself and you can choose to offer your talents to other news outlets and publications as you see fit


  • Even if you can't get paid work right away, you could still find a local publication that needs interns to help them with their operations. As an intern at one of these publications, you will be able to familiarize yourself with the writing, editing, and publishing process.
  • In your articles, you should not only describe the music you are reviewing but also provide readers with qualitative summaries of new music releases and presentations so that their listening experience is enhanced.
  • Be ready for your opinions to be criticized, especially if you post them openly on a blog. Keep in mind that each person has different tastes and some will not agree with you. For example, die-hard fans will defend artists you write about in a particularly outspoken way.
  • If possible, reach out to other local music journalists for advice on how to enter the profession of music critic. For the most part, they will have started the same way as you, so they are likely to be happy to help another aspiring writer.
  • Don't specialize in just one musical genre but learn to write about different types of music. If you diversify your specialty a bit more, it will be more likely that you will get a job and that you will get your writing published and that people will read it.


  • Don't expect a job as a music journalist to earn you a lot of money, especially if you're just starting out. Writers typically receive a modest fee for their clips, and there may be very little work available as a freelance writer. It could be the case that you get a publishing opportunity for your writing but get paid little or nothing for it. Accept all the opportunities you can get to publicize your work. You'll be able to move on to larger-scale posts and earn better when you're a little better known.
  • The music journalism industry is largely made up of freelancers. Some outlets may also have staff writers, but most of your material will come from part-time contributors. For this reason, landing a long-term position can be very difficult.

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