I’ve always felt that I was a little behind on the whole writing thing, during university I didn’t even realise that writing for an online publication was a thing. I used to go to shows and write reviews for myself but never imagined anyone would eve r want to read them (I still doubt that now!) And having people on my team that are 18 or 19 and at university makes me think that I was a little behind on the whole thing and wonder where I would be in my career if I had started writing for these publications five years prior to when I did; who knows.
For those of you out there who want to get into the music journalism business then here are my top 3 tips:
1. Go to as many gigs as you can (be it large or local) and write reviews even if it’s only for yourself to begin with. This can be a fantastic time to start a blog, have work to showcase so if you start writing for a publication you have evidence of your work. This works the same for photographers, most local shows and a few smaller London venues will allow you to take digital SLR cameras in and this is a fantastic chance to practice and I stand by the fact if you can take great photos without a barrier then the second you’re in a ‘photo pit’ they’ll be even better.
2. E-mail publications about writing for them but choose the ones that you genuinely read and enjoy. If they hire you it’s a lot easier to write for them if you have knowledge of their style and content and enjoy reading it yourself. Bare in mind that the majority of these online publications are unpaid positions but the experience and freebie’s you get are worth it. The average gig costs £20-£25 for (sometimes a lot more) and if you’re lucky enough to go to a festival you could be looking over £200 for some. I remember the first time I had ‘guestlist’ for a show was an amazing feeling and now I can say I’ve definitely saved thousands on tickets. At most places the harder you work the more you get rewarded.
3. Apply for work experience at as many magazines and agencies as you can while you’re at school and university because it becomes almost impossible when you have a full time job. I remember having to talk a week off work in order to do a week’s work experience: and who wants to use their holiday yet still have to work. So many magazines, newspapers, radio stations, PR companies etc. offer work experience ranging from a week to a month or more. Take advantage of everything you can because making your CV stand out from the others who merely did a journalism degree is difficult enough!
But most importantly do these things because you love it. I edit the Mosh website which is the sister site to Hit The Floor which takes a huge amount of time (I won’t bore you with the details) and I do this alongside a full time Monday-Friday job. But I wouldn’t be able to do it if I didn’t love it. Those nights when I’m trawling through e-mails at midnight are all worth it when a post your team has done gets retweeted by a major band (for me the instance of a KISS album review!) or when you’re at a festival interviewing some amazing bands. If you love what you’re doing then you’ll more than likely to do well in it because you want it.