I love music. Whether I’m swaying along with the crowd at a Mumford and Sons concert or jumping up and down in the mosh pit at a G-Eazy show, seeing live music is an experience like no other. In Thursday’s session on music journalism, Toni Albertson explained how I could combine my love of music with my passion for writing and reporting in the session “Rock On…line! How to Become a Music Journalist”.
Albertson has had a long and successful media career covering and marketing music. Whether she was editing and publishing her own music magazines, reporting on musicians and shows, or acting as a publicist for various artists, she has met anyone and everyone in the industry.
Albertson walked us through her experiences in the various positions she has held and explained how the music industry and culture has evolved from the hairspray using and leather loving rock bands of the eighties, to the rough and tough grunge bands of the nineties, and into the frosted tipped boy bands and pop stars of the early 2000s. The launch of MTV and the Internet have completely changed the way both artists and fans approach and listen to music, moving the industry’s focus from the quality of the sound and the popularity of concerts to the image of the stars and the rise of music videos.
To be a successful music journalist in today’s world, Albertson offered up many helpful tips. She believes it is essential to start a blog and brand yourself and emphasized the importance of finding a topic you like and covering “the shit out of it”. Additionally, aspiring music journalists need to become musical historians and know everything there is to know about all types of music. It’s important to be careful about never blowing somebody off, keeping up a professional façade even if you’re secretly fangirling, and absolutely never affecting a person’s ability to make money in the industry
Is it really that easy to become a music journalist? All I have to do is create a blog and talk about my favorite musicians? From her experience in the field, Albertson knows it’s not quite that simple. To make your blog stand out from the rest, you need to stick out from the crowd and break your own news stories. She suggests utilizing your reporting skills and interviewing people for your articles, staying before, during, and after events to capture every detail, and becoming multimedia savvy. Writing positions at music publications like Rolling Stones are few and far between, but any budding journalist can work towards creating a noteworthy blog.
Albertson’s session was full of wisdom that I will be able to use to jumpstart my music journalism career. Look out Portland musicians, I’m coming for you!
-Emily Neelon, Staff Reporter