As more and more print publications slow to a close, you may think that getting flashy press for yourself as an artist may no longer be something to worry about. But our guest this week at our weekly Music Industry Mondays event is here to tell you that music journalism, print magazines and press features are still very much alive and can do wonders for your music career.

Jack Parker is the editor-in-chief of LICKS Magazine, a publication that celebrates emerging artists and the music community. Every quarter, they publish a unique issue filled with the best articles, insights and interviews with artists on the up.

Jack has been making waves in both the UK and US music scenes for the past four years, and we’re going to spill everything you need to know about the life music journalling is leading today.

How LICKS came to be

Jack never saw himself up on stage, bopping his head along with the band underneath a spotlight. Instead, he was incredibly intrigued by the world of music journalism and getting to critique and talk about his favourite albums.

He studied journalism at university and had a few published pieces in various online publications, but it wasn’t while he was working for an indie record label, Big Indie Records, where he started something of his own. His blog was dedicated to discussing emerging artists, which soon turned into a quarterly magazine that reaches thousands of people across the UK and USA.

Since its first print issue in 2021, LICKS has made a name for itself in the print magazine world with a special focus on middle-ground artists. When looking for inspiration, Jack noticed that similar magazines would eventually drift away from the middle-ground space and onto bigger artists. Jack, however, thought the middle was the perfect place to be.

How LICKS Magazine is helping artists

By focusing on middle-ground artists, LICKS can directly impact artists’ futures. One of the magazine's guiding principles is to give cover features to artists who have never experienced being on a magazine cover before. One, this is just a lovely thing to do, but more importantly, two, most artists go on to feature their beautiful faces on other magazine covers because of it.

Letting artists have a place to express themselves and talk about their art in print can be just what they need to journey onto the next level of their careers. It also shows that magazines like LICKS care about their impact on the artists and the industry as a whole; they continuously champion up-and-coming talent, maintaining its authenticity.

Next time you think of ways to get your name out there, give some of the print magazines a thought. You may just end up on the cover!

Can I still be a music journalist today? Is music journalism, you know, alive?

You’ve probably seen places like Vice shutting down and wondering whether print media was still in the picture. And you wouldn’t be completely wrong. The current wave of digitalisation is making many changes to pretty much everything we know, but that doesn’t mean “old” media has been completely cut out of the family album. They’re just in the back there, next to your great uncle Dave.

Tips for aspiring music journalists

If you’re an aspiring music journalist, here’s one piece of advice: keep writing. Don’t get distracted by the walls that may be crumbling around you. There will always be room for your writing and your opinions. They might just appear on a hologram instead of paper.

Perhaps another obvious one, but another piece of advice from Jack is to be passionate about your subjects. The difference between someone writing about something they love and something they don’t really care for is as clear as day. And when you’re passionate, the job is much easier.

If you’ve been thinking about interviewing artists, try to develop a unique approach to interviews. Don’t just walk in (or click in?) with the intention that the only words that will come out of your mouth are the questions in your Notes app. Make the interviewee comfortable; discuss last night’s football game or your favourite Love Island contestant before you get down to it all. This will relax them and encourage a more conversational exchange rather than job interview vibes. No one wants those.

Despite the shifting landscape of music journalism, Jack is still optimistic about its relevance in the industry, and we think you should be, too. While press coverage may not be at the top of everyone’s lists, magazines and media outlets still play a crucial role in amplifying artists' voices and attracting attention from record labels.

Learn something new today? Great! You’ll learn a whole lot more once you come down to one of our live events. Grab a ticket here to get more on the latest in the music industry from people currently thriving in it.