From Schuman, to Ben Rector, to Macklemore, I listen to music 24/7. As a result, various lyrics, trivia, and chord patterns are constantly running through my head. It wasn’t until recently, however, that I had an epiphany: I realized I could leverage what seemed like useless knowledge, and turn it into cash.
Until I started looking, I didn’t realize the wide variety of music writing opportunities that are available to the savvy freelancer. My music writing career began with some copy-writing for a guitar learning website. They wanted to promote their new guitar course, and I did my research on their website before writing a series of sales emails (FAQ’s, testimonials, and more) to inform people about the course, and encourage them to buy it. I also learned much more about blues guitarists than I ever wanted to know!
Next, I moved on to a music marketing company. This company created marketing material for up-and-coming bands by writing blog posts that told a story and, since I’m a storyteller at heart (I moonlight as a YA novelist and editor), the work was right down my alley.
And recently, in my biggest win yet, I scored a meeting with the most well-known piano company in the world. I was just as surprised as anybody!
All I did was send the senior marketing director a connection request on LinkedIn, saying that, as a classically-trained pianist and music writer, I was intrigued by his career. He responded by asking me to email him my resume. I did, and he responded to that by asking for my rates. Next, he scheduled a phone meeting. When that meeting ended, I was the company’s new copywriter, with an invitation to fly to New York and tour their piano factory.
If you’re interested in music writing, there are endless opportunities out there. Before you start approaching potential clients, though, it’s important to have a few clips in hand that prove you know what you’re doing. Start with these publications:
Symphony Magazine is the quarterly magazine of the League of American Orchestras. Payment for features is reported to be in the $500-$900 range.
“Monthly print publication catering to musicians and the music industry.”
The Music & Sound Retailer
“We are the most widely read trade publication serving brick-and-mortar musical instrument stores and their owners, managers and buyers.”
“Mixtape.LGBT is a digital arts and music zine. We feature personal stories, brief interviews, media recommendations and critical essays with a focus on LGBTQ+ topics.”
BUTTON, New England’s Tiniest Magazine of Poetry
“Button publishes sheet music (inspired by the example of Godey’s Ladies Book around the mid-19th century). Major label, and smaller label musicians whose compositions have appeared include: They Might Be Giants, Combustible Edison, Roger Miller (of Mission of Burma), Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, Jen Trynin, Malcolm Travis (who played with Bob Mould of Husker Du).”
Pays small honorarium.
Publishes book and music reviews, and much more.
Pays $Cdn 0.25/word for most features; $Cdn 0.15/word for essay features and guest opinion columns; $Cdn 0.20/word for Kingdom Matters; and $Cdn 0.15/word for reprints.
- Music to Your Ears: Paying Musician Magazine Markets By David Berlin
- The Music & Sound Retailer
- Music Connection
- My Hobby of Profiling Street Musicians Turned Into a Paying Gig! by Marco Gallerani
- Breaking Into the World of Music Journalism By C.M. Saunders
Hailey Hudson is a full-time freelance fitness, nutrition, and education writer based out of Atlanta. She is available for hire. Learn more at her website, The Hardworking Creative or contact her on LinkedIn
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