What Is a Music Critic?

A copy of Rolling Stone magazine is displayed on a shelf at Smoke Signals newsstand
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Also called music journalists and music writers, the task of a music critic is to write articles on music, performers, bands, etc.

The usual tasks of a music critic include writing reviews of newly released cd's and records and conducting interviews with musicians, performers, bands, etc.

What Are the Qualities of a Good Music Critic?

As with any journalist, the job of a music critic is to write articles based on the information they have gathered. They listen to cd's, attend concerts and talk to musicians in order to get more input for the material they are going to write. The articles they create are based on both fact and their personal impartial reaction to the music, song or artist. They inform consumers which albums are worth buying and which artists are worth seeing.

Here are some tips a music critic should keep in mind:

  • Not only should you be a good writer, but also be a good communicator and interviewer.
  • Be familiar with various types of music.
  • Have ample knowledge of music history and notable musicians whether past or present.
  • Always be updated on upcoming artists and newly released songs.
  • Be fair, honest and impartial in your opinions.
  • If you're a freelancer, ask whether you will be paid per word or per article.
  • Build your portfolio

Why Become a Music Critic?

The great thing about the music industry is that there is an endless input of new songs and continued discovery of new talents. As long as there are songs to be written, artists who perform it and people who listen and appreciate them, the opportunity for a music critic is vast. The road to becoming a respected music critic comes with its own set of obstacles. Rejection from publications is one that you will face and must overcome. Nevertheless, if you succeed, this career path will bring you both professional and personal satisfaction.