13 essential music industry newsletters (and how to subscribe to them)
Whatever your role in the music business may be, staying up to date on industry happenings is important to remaining in the loop, and these thirteen incredible music industry newsletters will help do just that!
Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix
Get the latest industry news and opinions delivered to your inbox weekly by subscribing to these incredible music newsletters.
From career advice to thought-provoking essays, newsletters offer an abundance of entertainment and information, often for free.
Nobody saw the recent boom in newsletters coming. While newsletters have been part of internet culture since the beginning, a recent movement amongst journalists and bloggers hoping to become independently successful (while also drumming up some additional freelance interest) has birthed a new generation of creators making content specifically for consumers’ inboxes.
There are free and premium newsletters for every topic imaginable, from ancient cooking techniques to cryptocurrency, and many more are created each week. The quality and consistency of these publications can vary, but searching for newsletters that suit your tastes and interest level is part of the fun.
We’ve scoured the internet searching for the best music newsletters, and we were overwhelmed by the amount of content we discovered. Rather than encouraging others to plunge into the litany of options available to them blindly, we pull together more than a dozen incredible music newsletters that offer something for everyone. Some are written by journalists and critics, while others are from industry professionals hoping to help your career. Check it out:
Music Journalism Insider by Todd L. Burns (Subscribe)
Whether you write about music or you want someone to write about your music, Music Journalism Insider should be considered a must-read for everyone in the industry today. Todd L. Burns is doing the Lord’s work by bringing together the latest and greatest criticism, essays, podcasts, videos, and everything in between that relates to the current music discourse. This weekly newsletter tells you what people are talking about and who those people are, including many voices you might not otherwise discover. Burns does offer a premium tier that unlocks a contact sheet for people hoping to pitch stories, but the free level is more than enough to keep you entertained and informed every Monday morning.
Cabbages by Gary Suarez (Subscribe)
Gary Suarez is perhaps the greatest hip-hop writer working today. If not the best, then at least top-five, living or dead. Gary’s ability to dig below the surface of a song and connect what’s happening in the music to the culture of the artist behind it is second to none. He can make you not only appreciate the artist and producer behind a song but the places that created them and all the people involved in their upbringing. Gary’s writing reminds us that art is an endless endeavor forever informed by every experience of our lives. We are a constant work in progress, and therefore, so are the things we create. Reading cabbages is like going to school for a degree in hip-hop, only with a better professor and much less debt.
The Waiting Room by Danielle Chelosky (Subscribe)
Every writer above the age of 25 worries about the day someone younger than them will appear with a fresh perspective and a gift for wordplay. Danielle Chelosky is that threat. Barely in her twenties, Chelosky has already established herself as one of the leading voices in alternative music. Her work on the intersection of sex, love, punk, cigarettes, and the music that makes us feel alive reads like the confessional of someone without regrets. Chelosky bares her soul without hesitation, and because of that, readers are rewarded with profound and often humorous reflections on the strange state of the modern music business.
Reply Alt by Dan Ozzi (Subscribe)
Dan Ozzi has quickly become one of the most influential writers in music today, and ready Reply Alt makes it easy to understand how that happened. Ozzi writes with an energy that tells you he does not care whether or not you agree with him. You get the sense from his writing that Dan doesn’t care if you like or hate what he has to share. He’s not making content to entertain you, or at least, not solely for that reason. Dan makes stuff because his curiosity compels him, and we, the consumers, can reap the reward of his hard work. Nobody has the wit or craftsmanship that Dan Ozzi brings to punk and underground music. His formula for success is often duplicated, but it’s never the same. Get your dose of Ozzi-ism straight from the source. Subscribe to Reply Alt and thank me later.
Tone Glow by various writers (Subscribe)
The age of underground zines lives on in Tone Glow, an experimental music newsletter based out of Chicago. Tone Glow is the product of many writers working together to uplift and promote artists whose music falls outside cultural norms. Each email contains new music, thought-provoking criticism, and — often — an interview much longer and far more thorough than a traditional publication would allow. The result is an email you actually look forward to receiving, and that’s the highest compliment we can offer.
Former Clarity by Dave Anthony (Subscribe)
The beauty of newsletters with a single author is that they can easily evolve with the person writing them. Dave Anthony did not set out to discuss navigating America’s complex health system with his newsletter, but that’s exactly what happened over time. Former clarity blurs the lines between life in music and life outside of music as few newsletters can. As Dave Anthony details his life and its soundtrack, readers develop a deeper appreciation for both Anthony and the artists he admires. It’s the writing that you’ll never see Rolling Stone pay to publish unless it’s written by someone whose bank account has millions of dollars in it, which is a damn shame because it’s precisely that kind of relatable writing that we need more of in the world today.
Flow State by MC (Subscribe)
We know almost nothing about MC, the mysterious person behind Flow State. What we can tell you with absolute certainty is that Flow State is about to become the soundtrack for your life. Every day — and we mean every single day – Flow State delivers at least two hours of music to your inbox. These are not pop hits or underground anthems, mind you, but music chosen for its ability to help you focus. Open the email, click the link, and lose yourself in the comforting art of musicians from all over the world. When your work is complete, return to your inbox and reading about the artist. Who knows? You may find your next obsession.
Music 3.0 by Bobby Owsinski (Subscribe)
Bobby Owsinski is a music industry veteran who believes in transparency. Bobby’s blog and accompanying newsletter take the biggest stories and moments from the industry and uses them to educate readers about the business of music as a whole. What his writing lacks in personal revelations is more than made up for with industry know-how, so if you’re looking to get ahead, Music 3.0 may be the answer.
The Nashville Briefing by Zak Kuhn (Subscribe)
Not enough people understand the power and influence that country music has on America. With The Nashville Briefing, a free newsletter from Zak Kuhn, the industry at large can finally see the cultural stranglehold that the genre has on this nation. From daily headlines to breakdowns of the latest influential Spotify playlists, Kuhn provides subscribers with everything they need to know about what’s happening in country and why, including deep dives on marketing campaigns and business insight.
Stream N Destroy by Ryan Downey (Subscribe)
Anyone who claims that rock ‘n’ roll is dead must not subscribe to Ryan Downey’s newsletter. Downey is a best-selling author and fixture of alternative music who uses his newsletter to keep everyone updated on all things rock. From the most popular artists on Spotify to the best-selling albums of any given week, Downey provides data dumps on the state of rock and its many sub-genres that no other publication seems to offer (at least not for free). We learn more look at Stream N Destroy each week than we do from several leading industry news sites, and we bet you’ll feel the same after subscribing. Don’t wait!
AmplifyYou by Amplify Link (Subscribe)
Who better to learn marketing from than a company that makes money by marketing? AmplifyYou is a weekly newsletter offering the latest marketing tips and tricks from people who make a living by getting people to care about things. It’s in this newsletter that you will find the emerging trends that will help set you apart before your competition knows they even exist. Best of all? It’s free!
Your Morning Coffee by Jay Gilbert (Subscribe)
One of two newsletters in this features that are tied to podcasts, Your Morning Coffee is your daily dose of everything related to the business of music. Jay Gilbert and Mike Etchart have great chemistry, and their insight into the future of music will have you excited about what tomorrow may hold.
Cherie Hu’s Water And Music by Cherie Hu (Subscribe)
Cherie Hu digs below the surface of industry headlines to crunch numbers, understand data, and develop a more meaningful snapshot of the music right now. Her insight into how events in the industry can shape the future of entertainment for everyone is second to none. Reading Water And Music will inevitably lead you to the podcast of the same name, and guess what? It rocks as well. We’re big Cherie Hu stans over here, and honestly, you should be too.
Spin Cycle by James Shotwell (Subscribe)
Full disclosure: James Shotwell works at Haulix.
Many young people will tell you things like, “Music is my life!” That’s a bold statement to make, but what does it mean? With Spin Cycle, writer James Shotwell seeks to provide an answer. Through essays about his life and experiences in the music business, Shotwell ties the soundtrack of his existence to specific moments and seeks to find meaning in the chaos of being. It’s the kind of newsletter that is never the same twice. One week may contain a funny story about an interview gone awry, while the next includes a somber reflection on the death of his best friend. Through it all, Shotwell tries to rationalize his obsession with various artists and songs in hopes of understanding how music helps us navigate this thing called life.
James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.