At least once a month, I get an email from someone who says their dream is to be a music journalist. “How can I break into the business?”
Tough one. First of all, millions of people have exactly the same dream. Second, the number of publications and outlets–and I’m talking print here–has shrunk disastrously. Third, the Internet has enabled anyone to be a music journalist, which has created a worldwide glut of material, much of very amateurish. And fourth, just try to find a music journalist job where you actually get paid a living wage. These gigs exist, but they are increasingly rare.
A better question might be “Is there a future in music journalism?” Jeezus, I hope so, but I’m not horribly optimistic. Let’s go to this article from Reverie:
Being part masochist and part fan, I do yearly round-up’s of music journalism for different mags and several panels over the years at SXSW about music journalism. Some of it’s fun and invigorating and some of it makes you wonder why anyone’s crazy enough to write about music anymore. The panels are helpful at least because everyone learns something there (or at least has memorable fights) and because the profession is in constant flux, we need to discuss, commiserate and find more perspectives.
This time around, we’re tackling the meaty question “Do Music Journalists Matter Anymore?” To be honest, this is a bit of a set up because all of us on the panel, including Rachel Brodsky (Paste), author/editor Chuck Eddy andGreg Kot (Chicago Tribune, Sound Opinions), have a vested interest here. “Sure we matter!” we may think and will try to prove but I have a related question to try to answer here that’s gotta be grappled with first- can music journalists exist at all?
Read the rest. You want an honest answer, right? And if you don’t recognize the person in the image for this post, you need to do some serious homework.