With the rise of the internet, getting people to listen to your opinion has never been easier. In days past, you would have to work for years as an unpaid intern for a magazine, only then, if your luck was right, might you get to publish a tiny shred of writing with your name under it. If your luck was even better, people might actually like what you wrote, and your career could finally take off. That didn’t happen often, however, and more than a handful of potential journalists were chewed up and spat out by the beast that is the music industry.
Nowadays, it is a bit simpler. There is a vast amount of music-related publications online, so many that your chances of getting something published are drastically higher than they were 20 years ago. As long as you can work a computer, write something with at least a little bit of passion and soul, and can run your articles through a website like this to make sure it hasn’t already been written – your shot at fame could be one article away.
So, what does a day in the life of the average music journalist look like?
Well, just like any online writer, the average day for a music journalist will more than likely involve several hours spent sitting at a computer screen. Journalism requires a lot of research. Unfortunately, the competition is exceptionally high, so writing compelling articles requires a high level of attention to detail.
As you gain experience and begin to work for more prominent and more well-known publications, you may start to gain the perks of the industry. You might be asked to go to record release parties or go to gigs.
Eventually, as you move up the ranks, you may become an editor, or you may just move up the ladder of publications in terms of prestige. While you are writing for a publication, you should be working on your own portfolio. At the very least, you should have your own blog that you update often. This can be crucial in showing potential employers your style, as your writing for a publication may be biased or influenced.
After speaking to several successful music journalists, they all said similar things. To survive in this industry, you need to have a thick skin. You are going to be knocked back a lot. People are going to reject you and criticize your work on a regular basis. The primary skill that every successful writer we spoke to said you should have is self-motivation. Second to this is the ability to immerse yourself in your craft, music journalists need to live and breathe music news. Expect to stay up late, working alone. Writers are generally solitary creatures. They do not live like the writers in Hollywood movies.
At the end of the day, music journalism is like any writing career; it’s tough. If you don’t have a passion and a fire in your soul for the music industry, it will show in your writing. If you are passionate about the industry though, if music runs through your blood… you may just have a chance.