Connect with us


4 Places to Read Great Music Journalism

Where to find great, free music writing and journalism on the web.

Patrick Foster



I have spent a lot of time working with aspiring journalists of all types, from news reporters to broadcast journalists to podcasters, and I’ve always stressed to them the importance of paying attention to what those in their respective fields are creating. Especially those who have made it professionally.

And especially if you are a writer.

In my role as instructor for College Media Network’s Music Journalism courses — which have now expanded to Basic and Advanced Courses — I’m always pushing my students to read as much music writing as possible, whether it be old or new.

Here are four places you can dig into some of that great music writing right now:

Rock’s Backpages

This UK-based site calls itself “the world’s most comprehensive online database of pop music writing, a unique resource unavailable elsewhere online” and that self-description is pretty accurate.

Their library contains over 40,000 primary source articles and some 600 audio interviews. The site works on a subscription basis, but the offer an awesome free library of articles that is filled with great reads. All you need to do is enter your email address to get a password to access the library.

Get started reading right here.

Aquarium Drunkard

This site, run by music lovers from Los Angeles, AD calls itself “an eclectic audio journal focused on daily reviews, interviews, features, podcasts and sessions.” That’s a great description from a team that has the skills to drop an accurate phrase.

Their taste is all over the map, and they feature a lot of soul, funk, world music and jazz. They often post playlists and exclusive cover versions from the artists they work with. They also do a weekly radio show on SIRIUS/XMU Channel 35.

Over 14 years, they have covered a huge spectrum of music and always surprise and delight with incisive writing and relentless quest for music that challenges and stimulates. Best of all, it’s all free. (They have launched a Patreon page, so if you love what they do, consider sending them a dollar or two each month to keep it rolling).

Check out AD right here.

The Line of Best Fit

Another UK-based journal, LOBF takes its name from a Death Cab for Cutie song and claims to be “one of the world’s most trusted voices for music discovery, read by millions of fans every month, in search of  their new favourite band.” (Yeah, that’s the proper English spelling of favorite.)

They do a great job on new music discovery, but I’m partial to their features section, which is packed with interesting and thoughtful profiles on artists ranging from Angel Olsen to Brittany Howard.

They do tons of album reviews, too, just the kind of thing aspiring music writers should be paying attention to.

Get into the Line here.

Robert Christgau‘s Web Site

Widely known as “the Dean of American Rock Critics” — a title he bestowed upon himself, I’m pretty sure — Christgau doesn’t deal with many contemporary bands these days, but his music writing in the 1970s and most of the 1980s helped define a style of criticism that is still influential today.

On his site, you can find pretty much everything he’s written and published, including almost all of his essential book Christgau’s Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies and his Consumer Guide columns from New York’s seminal Village Voice newspaper, where he was chief music writer for decades.

If you want to get the real story of how the Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin (or pretty much any act from the 70s) went down, this is place to learn. And remember, winners usually write history, so it’s great to check an alternate view of that vital musical decade.

Beware, the site itself looks very retro (think 2002 internet), but the content is all juicy.

Go the site right here.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Patrick Foster is the Executive Editor of College Media Network. He's has been a journalist for over 20 years, working for wide variety of publications, including The Washington Post, Time Out and SPIN. He is the co-host of the music podcast Rockin' the Suburbs.

CMN Music

Music1 week ago

Album Review: Tamino – ‘Amir (Deluxe)’

An expanded edition that offers poetic drama from beginning to end.

Music3 weeks ago

What Makes A Scary Song? Three Things Every Spooky Tune Needs

Genuinely scary sounds, an unsettling story, or just party jams with eerie sound effects?

Music4 weeks ago

React: Paste Magazine’s Best Albums of the 2010’s List

It's difficult for any one person to approach a list with complete objectivity,

CMN Vibes4 weeks ago

CMN Vibes: Spooky Season

The only playlist you'll need as Halloween gets closer.

Music1 month ago

4 Places to Read Great Music Journalism

Where to find great, free music writing and journalism on the web.

Essentials2 months ago

Four Useful Spotify Features for Music Writers: Part One

Tips, tricks and cool shortcuts to deepen your knowledge.

Music2 months ago

‘We’ll Carry On’: Examining the Legacy of Rock in the 2000s

The seeds planted by these bands are the reason rock will thrive for generations.

Music3 months ago

Man Arrested in Connection of Death of Rapper Mac Miller

28 year old Cameron James Pettit was arrested today on allegations of supplying deceased rapper Mac Miller with lethal drugs....

Music3 months ago

5 Things You’ll Quickly Learn After Moving From the USA to New Zealand

So you graduate college without any real career plan and decide to spend a year bartending so you can travel...

Music3 months ago

Review: Captain Beefheart, “Hair Pie: Bake 2”

An odd intrigue.

Essentials3 months ago

4 Podcasts Every Music Writer Should be Familiar With

Music journalists these days need to listen to a whole lot more than just music.

Music3 months ago

Cocaine and Rhinestones – Breaking Down Merle Haggard’s ‘Okie from Muskogee’

Tyler Mahan Coe brings the facts and the feel of history.

Music3 months ago

Track Review: Pool Kids – ‘$5 Subtweet’

Diving into a new age of confrontation.

by , SUNY Brockport
Music3 months ago

Hip-Hop’s Most Influential Artists of the Last Half -Decade

Drake, Migos, Travis Scott and more make the list.

by , SUNY Brockport
Music3 months ago

Podcast Review: The Needledrop: How To Get Into Death Grips

Dominick Rabrun joins Anthony Fantano for some intense chat.

Music3 months ago

Liily: Aiming to Turn the Music Industry Upside Down

California band is on the way up and has new music due out this fall.

Music3 months ago

Interview with Singer Natalie Clark

A CMN Q&A that touches on playing guitar, growing up in Glasgow, and being starstruck on 'The Voice.'

Essentials3 months ago

5 Essential Websites for Music Journalists

Great sources to confirm facts or come up with story ideas.

Music3 months ago

Brockhampton Announces New Album and Releases New Song

Brockhampton announced that their new album Ginger will be available on all platforms August 23. The budding rap group simultaneously...

Music3 months ago

Hot 100 Hometown Heat Map: Which State Makes the Most Hits?

Find where your favorite music comes from.

Music3 months ago

Podcast Review: ‘This Sounds Better’

A great podcast that covers key points important to engineers and producers.

by , Albright College
Music3 months ago

Podcast Review: Machine Gun Kelly on the CMN Podcast

Professional and informative.

by , SUNY Brockport

Great Reads

1 Step 1

Copyright © 2019 College Media Network