Journalism Tips #5 – ‘Breaking Into The Music Journalism Scene’

Hello again, everyone. We know the weekend is always too short, so we appreciate you taking a few moments from your schedule to spend with us. If you’re reading this on a day that isn’t part of the weekend, just go ahead and disregard the previous sentence. We’re happy you’re here as well. 

This week marks the one-month anniversary of our recently launched Journalism Tips series. It also marks the debut appearance from contributing writer Andy Maroon, who was kind enough to create the article you’re about to enjoy. We are always looking for new ways to expand and further refine our efforts here at Haulix. If you have an idea for this blog, or if you would like to learn more about the digital distribution services we offer, please do not hesitate to email and share your thoughts. If you prefer social media, feel free to reach out to us on Facebook and Twitter.

You want to break into the music journalism scene? Great! Haulix has a few simple tips to help you get started. I’ll pass over the ones everyone already knows: Read a lot, write a lot, and so forth. Great. But what else? Hopefully these few bits of advice help you focus your efforts.

Maintain a Blog – If you’re an aspiring journalist, be it in the music industry or wherever, you should have a blog. If you don’t have one, stop reading and go make one immediately. I’m not kidding. This will arguably be your most efficient tool, save for the keyboard you use to type. Maintaining a blog will not only give you an outlet to publish your own pieces, it also provides a channel for others to reach out to you. Practice, practice, practice.

Network – I’m not going into much detail as Adrian Garza did a great job in a previous Haulix blog post – so make sure to read that. ( Simply put, having a great network is an essential key to success in the industry. Form positive relationships with bands, record labels, PR firms and, most importantly, your colleagues. Something special about this industry, at least on the small scale, is the sense of community amongst ‘competitors’. Build up your network and make friends with everyone – surrounding yourself with positive influences will help you immensely.

Start Small – I’ll say it again. Start small. Odds are there are a million other journalists, both professional and aspiring, who are covering the latest album from your favorite band. You know who isn’t getting covered? That awesome local band playing the opening slots around town. Take advantage of the market and cover smaller unknown acts. Be an outlet for fans to find information on obscure bands. Your coverage will benefit both you, and local acts who are looking for promotion. Who knows, you might just uncover the next big thing.

Power Through – Finish then polish. This may be my favorite bit of advice for aspiring writers. Start writing and don’t stop until you are done. Regardless, of how sloppy, disorganized and just flat out terrible the first draft is – power through. Once you have the whole article down on paper, you will be amazed at how much easier it will be to polish and re-organize.

Be You – Write about what you enjoy and write your own way. There is nothing worse than reading something that someone obviously had no desire to write. Let your stories reflect you and what you are passionate about. Cover what you’re interested in and write with your own personal flair. Look for inspiration, but find a voice that is unique to you. This will not only make your writing come naturally, but will help you stand out amongst the sea of aspiring music journalists.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.