Music journalism is a great career choice for those who are passionate about music but have no desire to get on stage. However, it is just as difficult a career to land as being a musician is. The following five tips will help you to get the best start possible, and the greatest chance of success.
Find Your Niche
One of the hardest things to pin down for an aspiring journalist is your preferred niche. Lots of people who enter into music journalism think that they know what they want to write about, but it can often be hard to gauge what is involved from the outside. The best thing to do is to keep an open mind and allow yourself to try a bit of everything. Don’t restrict yourself to just one or two subject areas. Instead, spread yourself around and give yourself the space to experiment with different things. Once you stumble upon your niche, you’ll know!
Practice Makes Perfect
This is essential advice that is all too often forgotten. If you know that you want to be a music journalist, don’t wait around for someone to offer you a job out of the blue! Instead, start reviewing albums, start going to gigs and writing up your experiences. Once you start doing these things, you will not only be able to hone your craft and identify the areas that you most need to work on, you will also be building up a portfolio. Once you have a decent portfolio full of high-quality work, then you can begin applying for the kind of jobs you want.
Don’t Be Afraid to Start Small
Before you can get those dream assignments, the ones where you get to follow a famous band around on tour and attend all the after parties and other industry shindigs, you first need to earn your stripes. If you’re hoping to go straight from being a nobody to being invited on tour with Metallica, well, you’re going have to be one hell of a writer. On the other hand, if you eagerly take on any assignments and opportunities that come your way, you will gain a reputation, and it is this that will open all the best doors.
Make Friends With Local Bands
Local bands are going to be your best entry point into a career in the music business. During those early years, when you are still finding your feet and your niche, local bands will not only provide you with material to write about, they can also introduce you to other local bands. In this way, you can quickly build up a network of contacts.
Research the Industry
You don’t need to be an industry insider to know who the biggest bands are, or even who the most promising up and coming acts are. However, if you want to make it as a music journalist, you do need to know who the key figures throughout the music industry are. This includes people like Coran Capshaw, who might not be instantly recognizableoutside of the music business, but who everyone on the inside is familiar with. Do your research and not only will you be able to demonstrate your knowledge and commitment, you will know who to contact, no matter what story you are working on.
Making it as a music journalist isn’t easy. But with determination and skill, it is certainly possible. Stick to the advice outlined above. Persevere with it, and you might just be able to pull it off!