Music critics 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. Music critics are usually journalists and are employed by magazines, newspapers and online music websites and their salary ranges may depend on their level of experience and the type of publication.
Salaries by Employer
According to Careersinmusic.com, beginning music journalists typically earn about $25,000 per year. As they gain experience and a following, their salary may be raised to $30,000 yearly. Those working for top publications may earn between $40,000 and $150,000 per year. Since most music critics and journalists work for good publications, the average yearly salary for these writers is between $35,000 and $50,000.
According to a publication by the Berklee College of Music, the salary range for music journalists (which includes journalists for newspapers, magazines and online publications) is between $20,000 and $70,000 annually. The music critics may earn $150 for a CD review or between $100 and $500 for a feature article. Indeed.com lists the average salary for music journalists at $45,000 yearly.
Internet critics, or music critics who write for online publications, earn from $18,000 to $60,000 annually. Those with stronger credentials, such as experience and notoriety in the music industry as a musician or writer, may earn the higher end of the salary range. Other factors that influence salaries are the popularity of the critics' columns and the budget of the online publication.
In some cases, music critics work independently as freelance writers. This enables them to write for multiple publications. However, those in this position face the possibility of erratic paychecks and no benefits or pension plan. In an article for PayScale.com, freelance writer Deborah Ng states that the common salary for freelance writers is between $1,000 and $2,000 monthly. For freelance music writers, online opportunities (via blogs, music websites, online publications) provide the best way to earn income. Yet, the increase in blogs created and managed by record companies along with the rise of new websites devoted to music has made it challenging for freelance music writers to bring in consistent income.