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Music Journalists - What Do They Do? :

Naturally, music journalists write about music and the music business, but there are a few different specializations that exist under that heading. Some music journalists work exclusively in reviews - they reviews new albums, shows, DVD releases and such. Other journalists tend to do more in depth pieces about musicians - they do interviews and cover the people behind the music. Some music journalists focus on writing about the music business itself - and still other writers do a mixed bag of work, combining music reviews, artist interviews and whatever else comes up that warrants press attention.

Music journalism is criticism and reportage about music. It began in the eighteenth century as comment on what is now thought of as 'classical music'. This aspect of music journalism, today often referred to as music criticism (although that risks confusion with the academic discipline), comprises the study, discussion, evaluation, and interpretation of music and its performance. Modern art music journalism is often informed by music theory consideration of the many diverse elements of a musical piece or performance, including (as regards a musical composition) its form and style, and as regards performance, standards of technique and expression.

Different Mediums, Different Styles:

Music magazines are the most obvious outlet for music journalism, but they are far from the only place you'll find music related writing. Album reviews run in most general entertainment and men's/women's magazines - these publications also sometimes include interviews. Newspapers have varying levels of music coverage, from reviews to interviews with touring bands passing through town. The latest frontier in music journalism is the internet (more below).

Types of music coverage differs between publications - newspapers and general interest magazines tend to run short reviews, music mags give more in depth coverage.

Music Journalism and The Internet:

Like it has most things, the internet has changed music journalism dramatically. In addition to giving the usual publications another outlet, the internet has allowed music fans to start covering the music themselves by starting blogs and websites. Music journalism on the internet is where you are most likely to find the boundaries pushed - writers are bound by fewer rules than they are with print publications.

Of course, not ever fan page on the net counts as "journalism" - there is good and bad writing on the web - but more and more of the great journalists are using the net to do their writing.

Making Money as a Music Journalist:

The way music writers get paid depends very much on their job. Freelancers get paid on a per project basis - they might be paid on word count (a set amount for every word) or they might agree up front to a set rate for the whole project. People who work for a specific publication are usually on a set salary, although sometimes they receive a base rate plus a bonus based on some kind of performance criteria - this is especially common with web writing, where traffic increases are rewarded. Aspiring freelancers can learn more about pricing their work on's Freelance Writing site.

How to Become a Music Journalist:

There are several different ways to get a foot in the door. Some people find internships with music publications while they are in college, and those internships turn into job opportunities. Other people take any writing job they can get - even writing for free sometimes - to build up a portfolio of work they can eventually turn into a paying gig. Still others start their own blog or website, which can also help to build up a portfolio of writing samples - sometimes, these blogs/sites can be successful enough on their own to become a living, and sometimes they are stepping stones to a steady assignment. Check out's Media Careers site for more advice on breaking into journalism.

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