Is becoming a music critic right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

What do music critics do?
Career Satisfaction
Are music critics happy with their careers?
What are music critics like?

Still unsure if becoming a music critic is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become a music critic or another similar career!

Described by our users as being “shockingly accurate”, you might discover careers you haven’t thought of before.

How to become a Music Critic

Becoming a music critic involves a combination of education, experience, and building a strong portfolio. Here's a general guide:

  • Develop a Strong Musical Background: Gain a deep understanding of various music genres. A passionate and informed interest in music is essential.
  • Acquire Writing Skills: Hone your writing skills, as clear and engaging writing is crucial for effective music criticism. Consider taking writing courses or workshops, and practice expressing your opinions and insights about music.
  • Formal Education: While not mandatory, a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism, Communications, English, Writing, Creative Writing, Music, or a related field can provide a solid foundation for a career in music criticism.
  • Attend Concerts and Events: Immerse yourself in the live music scene. Attend concerts, festivals, and events across various genres to broaden your exposure and develop a nuanced understanding of musical performances.
  • Start Writing and Establish an Online Presence: Begin writing about music. Create a professional online presence through a personal blog or social media. Contribute to local publications, submit articles to online platforms, share reviews, engage with the music community, and connect with fellow critics, musicians, and industry professionals. Consistently producing content will help you refine your writing style and build a portfolio.
  • Build a Portfolio: Gradually assemble a portfolio showcasing your best reviews, articles, and analyses. Include a variety of genres and styles to demonstrate your versatility as a music critic.
  • Network in the Industry: Attend industry events, music conferences, and networking opportunities. Establish connections with musicians, record labels, and other professionals in the music industry. Networking can open doors for potential collaborations and opportunities.
  • Pitch to Publications: Pitch your work to music publications, both online and print. Many publications accept freelance contributions. Be persistent and open to feedback as you seek opportunities to have your work published.
  • Seek Feedback: Encourage constructive criticism from peers, editors, or mentors. Use feedback to refine your writing and perspective.

There are many associations for music critics, both international and national, that serve to promote and support the work of music critics and journalists. Some of the most notable ones include:

  • International Association of Music Critics (IAMC): Founded in 1950, the IAMC is an organization that represents music critics from around the world. Its main aim is to promote and support the practice of music criticism and journalism, and to foster international communication and collaboration among music journalists. The IAMC organizes events and conferences, publishes a newsletter, and offers awards for outstanding work in music journalism.
  • Music Critics Association of North America (MCANA): The MCANA was founded in 1956 as an organization of professional music critics in the United States and Canada. Its mission is to promote the highest standards of music criticism, to encourage the development of music journalism, and to foster the public's understanding and appreciation of music. The MCANA offers awards for music criticism, and provides resources and support to its members through networking, conferences, and other events.
  • Jazz Journalists Association (JJA): The JJA is an organization dedicated to promoting jazz music and jazz journalism. Founded in 1986, it provides resources and support to its members through publications, networking, and events. The JJA also offers awards for outstanding jazz journalism, and promotes the importance of jazz music and its role in American culture.
  • American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA): The ASJA is a professional organization for freelance writers and journalists of all kinds, including music critics. Its mission is to provide resources and support to its members, including networking opportunities, professional development, and legal and ethical guidance. The ASJA also advocates for the value and importance of freelance journalism in the modern media landscape.
  • Association for Popular Music Education (APME): The APME is an international organization that supports the study and teaching of popular music, including music journalism. Its mission is to promote the academic study of popular music, to provide resources and support to educators, and to foster collaboration and communication among scholars and practitioners in the field.
  • Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ): The SPJ is a national organization that advocates for the ethical and responsible practice of journalism across all fields, including music journalism. Founded in 1909, the SPJ provides resources and support to its members, including training, legal and ethical guidance, and networking opportunities.

Online Resources
There are many online resources available for music critics. Here are some websites and platforms that may be helpful:

  • Pitchfork: Pitchfork is a highly respected music publication that covers a wide range of genres. It's a great resource for music criticism and reviews.
  • Rolling Stone: Rolling Stone is another well-known music publication that has been around for decades. They cover a broad range of music genres and offer insightful reviews and criticism.
  • AllMusic: AllMusic is a comprehensive database of music information that includes reviews, biographies, and discographies. It's an excellent resource for music critics to research and analyze music.
  • NPR Music: NPR Music is the music section of the National Public Radio (NPR) website. They offer reviews, interviews, and news coverage of a variety of music genres.
  • Stereogum: Stereogum is an online music publication that covers indie rock, pop, and electronic music. They offer insightful reviews, features, and interviews.
  • The Quietus: The Quietus is a UK-based online music publication that focuses on alternative and experimental music. They offer in-depth reviews, features, and interviews.
  • Rate Your Music: Rate Your Music is a user-generated music database that includes ratings and reviews from music fans around the world. It's a great resource for music critics to see how a particular album or artist is received by the public.