Skip to main content

How to Write for Music Magazines?

PS has worked as a freelance writer since 2012. When she's not traveling and writing, she helps people with web design and development.


Despite millions and billions of piracy and illicit downloads every year, the music industry still stands strong. The total revenue of the music industry increases by $2 billion or more every year. In 2017, it was $17.3 billion. In 2018, it reached $19.1 billion and in 2019, it earned a total of $21.5 billion. Now, who wouldn’t dream of becoming a part of this lavishing industry?

As a writer, you have the advantage to write over a wide variety of topics that has no end. It can be different music genres based on era, location, and people’s taste, such as Carnatic music, rock, RnB, heavy metal, and so on. The music industry is also a target of plenty of consumer and trade magazines.

To become a part of these magazines, you have lots of topics to write about, more than you can imagine. Here are the ten most popular and widely read topics:

Magazines like Billboard and Rolling Stone are the first-runners in this category. They regularly release top music lists both nationally and internationally. In fact, many other magazines and music streaming services rely on their report to organize the latest music playlists. Even you can write your own top list. Music lovers are always curious about the latest trends. Producing the list is the best way to do so. It raises curiosity, approval, and maybe a little bit of contradiction.

2. Independent Music

Due to their unique composition, indie music has gained immense popularity in the 21st century. Especially with the online world sickness, independent singers can build a strong fan base in no time through websites like YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram, and so on. Also, thanks to the availability of inexpensive technologies.

Writing about this music genre is a win-win situation as you can become an expert in a specific genre and you can give listeners a different score to enjoy. The possible topics can be the growth of independent music, trending indie bands, hottest independent labels, how to break into indie recording, cross-over artists, and so on.

3. Album Reviews

Album Reviews are important when someone needs music for specific purposes. Even some music enthusiasts also like to read the reviews before buying the album. Producers also consider critic reviews before releasing the album. In short, such reviews can potentially make or break an artist’s career. If you are musically skilled, you must try to become a reliable critic in the industry.

4. Concert Paraphrasing

Concerts are vibrant events. They are organized not only for artists’ popularity but also for donations. Conducted both nationally and internationally, concerts are well received among youngsters as well as adults. It is enough to say that each year a single concert receives thousands to millions of visitors. You can cover live events, cause of the events, write your own personal experience, or inform readers about upcoming events.

5. Music Festivals

People love to watch and read about famous music festivals. Some examples are Woodstock, Coachella, Pitchfork, Big Spring Jam, and Voodoo Music Experience. You may receive an opportunity to detail a music festival along with a brand to simultaneously promote their services. You can write press releases or promotional e-mails/articles to increase the number of participants and raise festival popularity. Other topics can be festival event details, interviews with attendees or artists, and upcoming music festivals.

6. Musicians

You can give juiciest details about your favorite musicians like Adele, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, and so on. Since singers are not the only ones that shape the music industry, you have plenty of artists to write about that include music directors, producers, composers, instrumentalists, songwriters, and other professionals. You can share updates, interviews, or anecdotes.

7. Instruments

Articles about musical instruments are most sought after. Music lovers and professionals practitioners are always looking for instruments that can improve their technicality. Whether for leisure or work, your articles can help them make their final decisions. Many brands also look for writers who can write magazine advertorials about their products. As per your own, you can write about various types of instruments, different brands, upcoming brands and products, product reviews, places to buy them, details about new technologies being used, and also the instruments popular among brands and artists.

8. TV Shows

With the worldwide popularity of TV Shows like Sing-off, The Voice, X-Factor, Glee, The Masked Singer, and American Idol, viewers have become more enthusiastic about music. You can review these shows based on your experience and personal opinion. You can also write about upcoming episodes, behind-the-scenes gossips, future plans, interviews with hosts, judges, and artists. In most of these shows, credit for songs is not clearly mentioned. You can also cover music that’s being used in particular shows.

9. Movie Soundtracks

Movies are dull without songs and songs are meaningless without a story. They contribute success to each other. Their collaboration is often so mesmerizing that viewers want to know more. You can dive deeper into this interrelation and elaborate on how certain songs are selected for specific movie scenes. You can also write about the best soundtracks of popular movies or discuss the details of a specific soundtrack.

10. Music industry

There are many aspirants looking to make a mark in the music industry. Your articles can help them understand what’s suitable for them. You can write about how to become a part of the music industry, how to start your own music label, how to form a band, who are the key players, what are the rules, and so on.

Know Your Audience

There isn’t any strict division among audience demographics for different magazines. Still, it is assumed that the target audience for hip-hop or rock music based magazines is in the age group of 15 to 35. And magazines that deliver content related to country music or jazz aim for the audience in the age group above 35 or 40.

The best way to know your target audience is to directly ask the magazine about the audience’s demographics and psychographic reports. You should also read several articles to understand the type of language being used. A slang and modern language must be used for youngsters, while for adults, the language would be short of slangs.

Here is a list of popular music magazines.

1. Mojo magazine

Known for: Classic rock music

Scroll to Continue

Total Circulation (June 2013): 79,345

Publication Frequency: Monthly

2. Making Music

Known for: Recreational music

Total Circulation (2004): 35,000

Publication Frequency: Bi-monthly

3. Vibe

Known for: R&B and hip hop

Total Circulation (2006): 858,469

Publication Frequency: Bi-monthly

4. Rolling Stone

Known for: Popular culture and rock music

Total Circulation (December 2018): 700,622

Publication Frequency: Monthly

5. Billboard

Known for: Music charts

Total Circulation (weekly): 17,000

Publication Frequency: Weekly

6. M Music and Musicians

Known for: Rock, hip hop, pop, R&B, folk, jazz, and country

Total Circulation (January 2017): 160,000

Publication Frequency: Monthly

7. Modern Drummer

Known for: Drummers and percussionists

Total Circulation (January 2017): 105,042

Publication Frequency: Monthly

8. Guitar World

Known for: Guitarists

Total Circulation (January 2017): 92,328

Publication Frequency: Monthly

9. Big Shot

Known for: DJ

Total Circulation (January 2017): 80,000

Publication Frequency: Monthly

10. JazzTimes

Known for: Jazz

Total Circulation (January 2017): 70,025

Publication Frequency: 10 times a year

11. Alternative Press

Known for: Band interviews and music charts

Total Circulation (January 2017): 297,222

Publication Frequency: Monthly

12. Decibel

Known for: Heavy metal

Total Circulation (2017): 51,000

Publication Frequency: Monthly

13. Guitar Player magazine

Known for: Guitarists related interviews and products

Total Circulation: 134,146

Publication Frequency: Monthly

14. XXL magazine

Known for: Hip hop

Total Circulation: 140,000

Publication Frequency: Monthly

15. Relix Magazine

Known for: Live music scene

Total Circulation (January 2017): 102,000

Publication Frequency: Monthly

16. Music Alive!

Known for: Educating teenagers about music

Total Circulation (January 2017): 500,000

Publication Frequency: Monthly

17. Revolver

Known for: Metal and hard rock

Total Circulation (January 2017): 150,000

Publication Frequency: Bi-monthly

18. Hot Press

Known for: Pop culture and politics

Total Circulation (2014): 17,084

Publication Frequency: 26 per year

19. New Musical Express (former magazine now a website)

Known for: Music news and reviews

Total Circulation: Not applicable

20. Uncut

Known for: Rock music

Total Circulation (2015): 47,890

Publication Frequency: Monthly

21. Kerrang!

Known for: Metal, punk, rock music, and hardcore

Total Circulation (2010): 85,377

Publication Frequency: Weekly

22. DJ Mag

Known for: Electronic dance music

Total Circulation (monthly): 35,000

Publication Frequency: Monthly

23. Classic Rock

Known for: Rock music

Total Circulation (2012): 56,714

Publication Frequency: Monthly

24. Under the Radar

Known for: Indie music scene

Total Circulation: 65,000

Publication Frequency: Bi-monthly

25. Metal Hammer

Known for: Heavy metal and rock music

Total Circulation (2015): 20,961

Publication Frequency: Monthly

26. Premier Guitar

Known for: Guitar news

Total Circulation: 255,000 readers per month

Publication Frequency: Monthly

27. Stereophile

Known for: Audio products

Total Circulation (June 2013): 72,159

Publication Frequency: Monthly

28. Hits

Known for: Music industry news

Total Circulation: 10,000

Publication Frequency: Monthly

29. Entertainment Weekly

Known for: Music, broadway, film, and TV

Total Circulation (2013): 1.8 million

Publication Frequency: Monthly

30. Music Week

Known for: Music industry news

Total Circulation: 5,218

Publication Frequency: Weekly

31. Q

Known for: Modern music and latest releases

Total Circulation (2015): 44,050

Publication Frequency: Monthly

32. BBC Music Magazine

Known for: Classical music

Total Circulation: 37,530

Publication Frequency: 13 per year

33. DownBeat

Known for: Jazz and blues

Total Circulation: 80,000

Publication Frequency: Monthly

34. Mixmag

Known for: Electronic dance and clubbing

Total Circulation (2011): 20,053

Publication Frequency: Monthly

35. Living Blues

Known for: Blues music

Total Circulation: 25,000

Publication Frequency: Bi-monthly

36. Bass Player

Known for: News related to bassists

Total Circulation: Unknown

Publication Frequency: Monthly

37. Goldmine

Known for: Discographies

Total Circulation: Unknown

Publication Frequency: Monthly

38. Electronic Musician

Known for: Music production and electronic musicians news

Total Circulation: Unknown

Publication Frequency: Monthly

39. American Songwriter

Known for: Art and craft of songwriting

Total Circulation: 30,000

Publication Frequency: Bi-monthly

40. Mix

Known for: News related to recording and sound production

Total Circulation: 3,944

Publication Frequency: Monthly

41. Halftime Magazine

Known for: Marching band and music education

Total Circulation: Unknown

Publication Frequency: Monthly

42. The Instrumentalist

Known for: Music education and performing arts

Total Circulation: 18,000

Publication Frequency: 10 times a year

43. Opera News

Known for: Classical music

Total Circulation (2018): 51,578

Publication Frequency: Monthly

44. The Score Magazine

Known for: Pan-genre music

Total Circulation: Unknown

Publication Frequency: Monthly

45. L.A. Record

Known for: Independent music

Total Circulation (2010): 40,000

Publication Frequency: Monthly

46. No Depression (Former Magazine now journal)

Known for: Roots music

Total Circulation: Unknown

Publication Frequency: Quarterly

47. The Hype Magazine

Known for: Hip hop

Total Circulation: Unknown

Publication Frequency: Quarterly

48. Fact

Known for: Focus on youth culture and international music

Total Circulation: 28,000

Publication Frequency: Monthly

49. Rock Sound

Known for: Rock music

Total Circulation (2016): 14,057

Publication Frequency: Monthly

50. The Fader

Known for: Music news

Total Circulation: 565,000

Publication Frequency: Quarterly

51. Variety

Known for: Entertainment news and film reviews

Total Circulation: 54,000

Publication Frequency: Weekly

52. Juxtapoz

Known for: Contemporary art and culture

Total Circulation: 127,000

Publication Frequency: Monthly

53. Texas Music

Known for: Music news

Total Circulation: 30,000

Publication Frequency: Quarterly

For detailed information, you can visit the Wikipedia page for Music Magazines. It contains all the names of possible music publications along with editors’ names and websites.

What do editors expect from you?

Editors are very strict with what sort of content needs to be published. You can’t trick them by rewriting already published works. You should:

  • Have a passion for music
  • Develop a character for music
  • Understand the dynamics of the music industry
  • Build relations with artists, respective managers, and labels.

Your articles can vary from 500 to 2,500 words. For more specific length, you can visit the magazines’ publication guidelines.

Related: How to Make Editor Curious to Read Your Email

How to pitch your ideas?

  • Check for magazine’s publication guidelines
  • If there are no guidelines, you can e-mail the editor or editorial staff to ask for them
  • Review their current and upcoming editorial activities to understand their perspectives
  • Do the topics match your interest? Can they be covered, if any?
  • E-mail the editor with your proposed idea
  • Don’t write long e-mails
  • Write only one fully developed idea in your e-mail.

How much can you make?

Payment varies with magazines. It largely depends on the readers’ base and marketing. Top magazines like Rolling Stone and Vibe pay around $1 per word, while other magazines may offer between 20 to 70 cents per word. You are paid more if you include original photos. Don’t be disappointed if your article is not accepted by top magazines. Even for experienced writers, making into popular magazines is equally difficult.

© 2020 Prachi Sharma


Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on August 09, 2020:

Interesting points. It is a unique sort of article. Useful.

Related Articles