Music Critic: Music to your ear money to your pocket

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Besides getting sent free CD's to review, music critics get backstage access and free concert tickets, often getting the opportunity to interview high profile musicians and performers, too.


Mark Swed has been chief music critic of the Los Angeles Times since 1996. He has also covered music for the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, and 7 Days, has also written for the New York Times, The New Yorker, The Economist, BBC Music and many other national and international publications.



The music critic may earn $150 for a CD review or between $100 and $500 for a feature article. An average salary for music journalists is $45,000 yearly.

So what do you need to become one? Music critics combine music studies with journalism. Many of them have earned a master's degree in a music-related field, such as music theory or musical performance, or in journalism. The music critic's goal is to describe the purpose and feeling of a particular piece of music as well as a technical breakdown of the composition. Some music critics focus on classical music, while others limits themselves to film scores. Many music critics, regardless of genre, can relate to the musicians they write about; they themselves are often musicians and/or composers. So if you love listening to music or it's your passion, you might like the job since music critic spend a great deal of time listening to music and then evaluating its quality for the purposes of informing and influencing consumers. In fact, the opinion of a reputable music critic can persuade or dissuade a consumer in his decision to purchase music.



Mark Swed has contributed liner notes for recording, program notes for concerts, and catalog essay for MOCA. Swed has received awards in criticism from the Los Angeles Music Center, ASCAP, the American Music Center.

Being a music critic can be an exciting job. Like any career in the entertainment or journalism industry, it takes clout and a keen sense of the latest and upcoming trends to be really successful. So if you are serious this career then do these few things :

  • Entrench yourself in the local music scene. 

  • Decide if you are going to focus on a certain genre of music. 

  • Having a base knowledge and feel for many varieties of music will help you plan on writing for a magazine or newspaper.

  •  Attend as many local, unknown artist performances as you can. 

  • Talk to be band and get to know a little about their style of music. 

  • Pitch your articles and yourself to newspaper and magazines.


    You are all set to try your hand or ear in Music.

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3 comments:

  1. Music seemed to be a cup of relaxation uptill now in the eyes of the world, But through this amazing article, the people will see the next half of the music which is the great need of the times that is : MONEY .

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  2. Some great tips there for getting started in a career as a music critic. What a great way to earn a living - listening to music you enjoy and then writing about your experience. Unfortunately my music knowledge isn't good enough for that job and my music tastes are probably a little too bizarre to be popular :)

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  3. Wow!! your post is really nice and awesome to read ..Good writing about music and I am really impressed after reading your post .I wanna read more similar post .I have also found some similar post at online about songwriting jobs and music jobs that also fine but you have posted nice .Please keep it ...

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