Music Insight Series // Jason Scott



Curious how to catch a music journalist's attention? In this interview with Jason Scott (with words published in Audiofemme, Rock & Roll Globe, American Songwriter, Grammy.com & Billboard, among others), we've attempted to help give you a real-life, behind-the-screen look. 8) Read on for insight to help inspire your music journey!


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Tell us a little about your role in the music industry! What do you write about & where can we see your work?

I am a freelance music journalist with a focus on uplifting LGBTQ+ artists. I also enjoy exploring some of life's hardest topics, from death and the grieving process and how being in a marginalized group informs the work. I am all over the place and have bylines in Audiofemme, Rock & Roll Globe, American Songwriter, Grammy.com, and Billboard. Additionally, I also write about horror film and work as a writer with /Film and Bloody Disgusting.


What was your first foray into writing about music?

I started writing about music a little over 10 years ago with a now-defunct site called Examiner.com, which was later bought out by AXS, the ticketing company.


Describe what a "typical day" looks like for you, lately! I keep a pretty rigid work schedule. I am typically at my desk around 8:30am until 5pm. Taking coffee and cat breaks throughout the day helps alleviate the insanity that can be this business sometimes. The workload will vary depending on deadlines, but I break up my tasks into bite sizes so I don't get burnt out on one project. Oh, and I'm always drowning in emails.

On average, how many emails do you typically receive on a daily basis? ... of those, how many do you open?

I have two email accounts, a general one and a blog-specific one. On average, probably 20-30 per email that are crafted pitches directly to me; it's in the hundreds if you count PR blasts. What I typically do is scan emails; you'd be surprised how many I receive for rock or heavy metal, which are genres totally out of my purview. I might open a handful - my career is veering more and more into film work, so I have less time to open music pitches these days.

How do you discover new music stories or get ideas for what to write about?

Social media is the key, honestly. It's so ingrained in my life, as it likely is for everyone, that stories frequently show themselves. But much of my long form work is personal - for example, I revisited Adele's 25 record ahead of her new release to write a personal essay. So, I'm often looking for timely hooks that are universally relevant but have a uniquely me spin. Also, TikTok.

What stands out to you (in a good way!!), when you're being pitched a new music story?

If it's an LGBTQ+ artist, I am much more likely to check it out. Other than that, artists who are transparent about what inspires them, like writing a song about the death of their father or how they cope with anxiety. Things like that make compelling human interest stories.


What are some things you wish people would do less, or totally stop doing, with pitches?

My immediate thoughts have more to do with what I wish people would do MORE of. I get so many pitches that don't include press kits or social media links - especially if I'm interested, I like to gauge an artist's social presence. And it drives me nuts when I have to go on a wild Google chase. Links need to be handy-dandy and right up front. Also, always include photos in pitches - and the photos need to be high res and not in a .tiff format. That's the worst.


Tell us about one of the most creative pitches you've gotten & why it spoke to you. Hmm. Honestly, I don't recall any that are particularly creative, per se. The one that comes to mind was actually a film pitch. I did an essay for a horror film site called Bloody Disgusting about Halloween Kills. A filmmaker reached out and complimented me about the piece, and then suggested their film might be right up my alley. It felt genuine, so I checked out their work. In general, when it's evident someone has previously seeked out my work and made that connection, I'm more likely to see what they're up to. I don't get these kinds of emails often, but it's always nice to feel like your work is breaking through the noise in some small way. I guess you can say it spoke to me.

What are your thoughts about musicians pitching their own music stories? Totally fine with it. I expect it, honestly. PR can be expensive.


What advice would you give a musician who's interested in having their music story featured? If you're an indie artist, and you can't afford to hire PR, making human connections with writers is essential. Van Plating is one of my favorite artists not only because their music is great - they are frequently commenting on tweets that have nothing to do with their work. While it's great to promote what you're doing, I'm not a machine and have many other interests. Reaching out about things that are not music related or you related lets me know that you actually care about the person on the other side of the screen. We don't have to be friends (and I would never expect or want that), but understanding that spamming a writer with nothing but links to your music is a huge turn off. Because Van Plating has and continues to do such a great job with this, I've continued playlisting their work, etc.


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If you find PR stuff overwhelming &/or want to learn more about it, click this link to see if our Music Press Success Crash Course is right for you - https://www.themarketingmixtape.com/musicpresssuccess

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