Music is an important aspect of our lives.
No matter what genre of music we like, no matter what individuals or groups we prefer, our musical tastes demand our time, attention and money. With the advent of the Internet and musical services like iTunes, the type of music we want is easy to get and easy to pay for.
Music journalism, however, is a sadly under-developed part of the profession. And that should provide young journalists with a passion for music some enormous opportunities in the near future.
What does it take to be a music journalist?
We have already mentioned having a passion for music, which is certainly necessary but also certainly not sufficient. Music journalism doesn’t mean listening to your favorite bands or genre all day long and getting paid for it. Rather music journalism is about reporting and writing.
And reporting is the key.
What is missing from music journalism is information – about the music, about the industry, about the artists. The successful music journalists of the future will be those who find out information about the music and artists that people are interested in. They will be the ones who are willing to dig into the industry to see what is there, what people are producing and where things are headed
If you are interested in music journalism, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Start a blog about the type of music that interests you the most. (See module 4.2 Blogging <link>.)
- How good you are depends on how much you enjoy hearing new music, not hearing the same sounds again and again.
- Learn what criticism really means. Criticism is not just being critical, and it’s not simply offering your opinion. Criticism means taking an informed and meaningful look at music, artists and performances and writing about those topics in a way that enhances the experience of the reader. The way to learn about criticism is to read good critics.
- Knowing how to read music or play an instrument helps, but it is not necessary for being a good music journalist.
- Don’t become a groupie, and don’t let your weblog become a fan page for a group or artist.
- Maintain high ethical standards. Never promise good reviews in exchange for new releases or performance tickets. In fact, you should never promise to review anything at all. And you should not accept anything of real value that will compromise you standing with your audience. Protect your credibility like a precious jewel.
- In addition to your weblog, there are lots of music magazines and websites that would be willing to accept your writing. Explore them, get in touch with the editors, and start reporting and writing.
- Report, report, report. This subject is starved for good, solid information. Feed the beast.
The opportunities are wide open for the aspiring music journalist. There simply aren’t enough good ones.
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