We’re looking for freelance writers to cover Madison music

If you’ve got ideas and a curious ear, we’d love to hear from you.

If you’ve got ideas and a curious ear, we’d love to hear from you.

Photo: A colored vinyl edition of Madison artist Asumaya’s 2018 album “Omniphobic.”

Tone Madison is looking for two or three paid freelance writers to expand our coverage of music in Madison—with a heavy emphasis on the local music community, under-appreciated artists, and adventurous sounds. If you’d like to work with a growing, reader-supported publication with a long history of digging deep into Madison music, you might be a good fit.

Here are the qualities we’re looking for:

  • An interest in and working knowledge of Madison-area musicians and venues.

  • Strong writing and interviewing skills.

  • A discerning ear—in other words, you’re open-minded but not shy about your opinions, and you can articulate why you respond the way you do to a given performance or piece of music.

  • The ability to stay organized, meet deadlines, and take feedback.

  • A working ethical compass, especially when it comes to any potential conflicts of interest—please don’t respond to this with plugs for your friend’s band.

  • An ability to pitch and execute your own story ideas. We do occasionally assign out pieces to freelancers, but we mostly want to work with you on the ideas you’re enthusiastic about. 

And a bit more about the kinds of pitches we are looking for:

  • At the moment, we are mostly interested in reported features and in-depth interviews. We will sometimes run video or track premieres, but prefer to have a substantive feature accompanying them.

  • We don’t run concert reviews, so please don’t pitch those.

  • We do occasionally run pieces that are a little closer to straight-up record reviews, but we want to work with writers on feature pieces before assigning those.

  • We are also primarily interested in coverage of artists based in the Madison area. We do occasionally cover touring music, especially things that are a bit more under the radar, but the emphasis is local, local, local. That can include, but certainly isn’t limited to, coverage of hip-hop, experimental music, jazz, and electronic music.

  • You don’t need to have a journalism degree or formal journalism background—we work with people from many backgrounds and many levels of experience.

Here are a few examples of music stories we’ve run in the past year or so:

Once again, Madison’s small venues work to avoid becoming vectors (January 10, 2022)

Kat And The Hurricane find joy in confidence (June 24, 2021)

Cicada The Burrower charts a powerful prog-metal transition (May 18, 2021)

Unearthing the music of Xerobot, Madison’s no-wave misfits (March 23, 2021)

Tone Madison pays freelance writers on a per-piece basis. Our base rate for a reported feature is $200, and we will sometimes negotiate up from there depending on the scope of the work. Our freelance writers work with experienced, supportive editors and reach an audience that values independent local journalism. 

If you’re interested, review our pitch guidelines and email editor@tonemadison.com with brief (one paragraph) descriptions of two story ideas. No need to write a formal cover letter, but please tell us a bit about yourself and include links to some previous work you’re proud of. Members of historically marginalized groups are encouraged to apply.

Help us publish more weird, questing, brilliant, feisty, “only on Tone Madison” stories


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