Written By Christiana Walter
Do you have a passion for music? Wading into the sea of music journalism can be daunting. The good news is there are so many avenues for music writing from pop-commentary websites to magazines featuring niche or obscure genres. So, while you’re busy making contacts and crafting cool pitches, here are 10 publications that pay you to write about music.
- Rolling Stone
The iconic magazine manages breaking news in music, reviews, and interviews with famous and emerging artists. Rolling Stone reportedly pays more than $1/word. Content must be relevant, interesting, and exceptional journalistic quality. To submit a pitch, email firstname.lastname@example.org. The current editor is Jann Wenner, so you can always try email@example.com. This publication is a heavy-weight, so here’s a handy rundown of tips for pitching them.
- Paste Magazine
A leading arts and pop-culture publication, Paste looks for fresh, creative ideas for feature articles, essays, trend stories, and reviews. Their fee is $50 upon publication. Check out their handy writers guidelines for more information, and their list of editorial contacts for who to email your submission to.
- M: Music and Musicians
M takes an inside look at the music industry, profiling and interviewing artists from a range of genres. Rates reportedly vary from $25 for album reviews to $450 for a feature. Submit pitches to Rick Taylor at Rick@Mmusicmag.com. Learn more about them at their website.
- DRUM! Magazine
Are you a drumming enthusiast? DRUM! pays between 50 and 300 words for freelance drumming articles with an educational bent. Short pieces can range between 300 and 1,000 words, while a cover story may be as long as 4,000 words. Drummagazine.com has a helpful, detailed Writers Guide here. Address your query to Editor-in-Chief Andy Doerschuk at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wired.com features playful, interesting, and dynamic music writing, often exploring the intersections of music and technology. Payment varies on a case-by-case basis. Send pitches to email@example.com – or directly to the pop culture & entertainment editors: firstname.lastname@example.org, Peter Rubin, email@example.com.
Relix is a magazine with a strong focus on live music. They cover music festivals, interview bands, and review albums and shows. Payment varies. Their list of editors and their contact info is here.
Pitchfork is a well-regarded music criticism publication with a slightly academic voice. They reportedly pay $100 for a profile or interview, $80 for criticism, review, or arts/entertainment coverage, $100 for a news story. If you’re pitching without a pre-existing relationship, it’s suggested that you pitch something interesting but low-profile. “Someone who’s never written for Pitchfork is never going to be reviewing the new Arcade Fire album,” Mark Richardson, editor-in-chief, advised on contently.net. His email, by the way, is firstname.lastname@example.org, and here is their comprehensive list of contacts to pitch to.
- Stories of Music
Here’s something different! Stories of Music publishes volumes of personal essays, poetry, and literary journalism with music as the subject. Payment is $200, and you may submit up to 9,000 words. Check here for submission details for Volume 3 coming up this year.
- Symphony Magazine
Symphony magazine features news, essays, and in-depth articles related to all the latest happenings in the orchestra world. Features of about 1500-3,000 words include classical music trends and profiles of individual soloists, orchestras, etc. Fees are negotiable, but payment is reported to be between $500 and $900. Pitch Editors Robert Sandla at email@example.com, Chester Lane at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Jennifer Melick at email@example.com. Learn more about them here.
A smart, irreverent cultural website that blends music journalism with mult-media, Noisey features music-video commentary, interviews, album reviews, and all the latest in music news. Writers report payment to be about $50 per 500-1,000 word op-ed. Dan Ozzi, Music Editor at Noisey, has a great breakdown of how to pitch to him here. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether you’re a veteran or aspiring writer, you can never have too long a list of pubs to write for. Best of luck to all you music fanatics.
Bonus: A reader emailed us about Quietus, an online magazine about music. She reports that they pay £75 British pounds for Black Sky Thinking columns and £80 British pounds for The Quietus Essay. Here is a direct link to their editorial contact page.