How to pitch features to DJ Mag

Lauren Martin
Jan 20 · 6 min read

Hi, my name’s Lauren Martin and I’m the Features Editor at DJ Mag.

Here’s a guide for how to pitch to us.

DJ Mag operates as a monthly magazine and a website, and there are a few strands to this. The global issue of the magazine is run out of the London office, where myself (lauren.martin@djmag.com), the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Carl Loben (carl@djmag.com), and Deputy Editor Ben Hindle (ben.hindle@djmag.com) are based.

There is also the North American issue, which is based out of New York, edited by Bruce Tantum (bruce@djmag.com), and is only distributed in North America. There are seasonal, club- and festival-focused issues for Ibiza and Croatia, but they are run in-house and don’t take freelance pitches.

The website is run by the Digital Editor Rob McCallum (rob.mccallum@djmag.com), who is also based out of the London office.

The relationship between print and digital is fairly fluid — we publish all the magazine cover stories and the majority of longform print features online — but when it comes to feature formats, there are differences between print and digital that freelancers should be aware of (more on that later).

In terms of deadlines, pitches for the magazine should be sent at least 2 months in advance. If you want to have your feature published in the April issue, we would want your pitch in early February. The final copy deadlines are always 2 and a half weeks before the issue hits the shelves. Each issue is out on the last Thursday of the month — our February issue will be in shops on January 30th.

Pitching for digital does not have the same, strict timetable. If you have an idea, email us, and we’ll work out a schedule that suits the feature.

In 2020, across print and digital, we’re looking to publish longform features that are ideally not centered around one artist. This can be a focus on an emerging sound, a reportage deep-dive into a subject surrounding dance music, culture and technology, or an opinion piece on a timely (and potentially divisive) talking point. (Note: if you can write about dance music in a humorous way, that critiques the culture fairly but playfully, we’d like to hear from you.) For more interview-heavy features, we are keen to hear from labels and collectives that are focused on particular cities, genres, or micro-scenes.

For digital specifically, we are also open to list-based features if they have an “evergreen” hook to them and speak to a niche interest, so that they can be revisited at later dates and still be relevant. In December, we ran two gift guide lists on the best bits of tech to buy for DJs and producers and the best dance music-related books.

DJ Mag covers an extremely broad range of genres — from the dominant forces of house and techno, to tech-house, trance, breaks, drum & bass, jungle, disco, and hip-hop — but we are still looking to expand our coverage. We are particularly looking for in-depth coverage on genres such as grime, drill, and emerging leftfield dance genres outside of the 4/4 orthodoxy, and on the sounds and scenes of the Global South — Latin America, Africa, and South and South-east Asia.

For inspiration and guidance, some longform features have been: Cherie Hu on the future of gaming and electronic music, Declan McGlynn on how the royalties system is losing producers millions each year and how online, cloud-bsed DJing will change the industry, Chal Ravens on Shanghai label SVBKVLT and how NAAFI are redefining Mexican club music, Simon Doherty on the rise of facial recognition technology in clubs, Anna Cafolla on the rise of Kuduro, Katie Thomas on London club The End, Mike Sunda on Soichi Terada and Shinichiro Yokota, and Marke B on Patrick Cowley.

Features can be anywhere between 1200 and 3000 words, depending on the subject. If a feature is pitched as longer than 3000 words, this would involve some discussion, but it’s not impossible. We pay 20p per word for longform features. For longform feature pitches for print and digital, please email me directly on lauren.martin@djmag.com

We do not accept pitches from freelancers for DJ Mag cover stories. The artists are chosen in-house and then commissioned out to our regular feature writers. However, if you have experience in writing longform profiles and are interested in writing a DJ Mag cover story, please email me with short paragraph about your work, with links to your profile writing, and we can talk.

The same applies on digital when it comes to our mix series — Fresh Kicks, for up-and-coming artists (eoin.murray@djmag.com), Recognise, for breakthrough artists (rob.mccallum@djmag.com) and On Cue, for established artists (eoin.murray@djmag.com). We don’t accept pitches for the mixes themselves from freelancers. These series are programmed in-house. However, we do commission freelancers to write the accompanying interviews. If you have an interest in writing these, please email the person assigned to each series. For track premieres, please email amy.fielding@djmag.com

We do have shorter, regular feature formats in the magazine. If you want to pitch for these, please email the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Carl Loben (carl@djmag.com) and Deputy Editor Ben Hindle (ben.hindle@djmag.com).

The formats open to freelance pitches are:

Bubblers

Word count: 150

Theme: Up-and-coming artist intros

Artist interview involved?: A quote would be nice, but considering the short word count, it’s not absolutely necessary.

Get To Know

Word count: 500

Theme: The next level up from the Bubblers format. A one-page feature on a small- to mid-level artist. This can be a newcomer, or someone more seasoned who’s having a breakthrough moment. This can be surrounding a live tour, a new record release, significant collaboration, or multi-media/genre work.

Artist interview involved?: Yes

At Home With

Word count: 2400

Theme: A personal visit to the home, hometown, or studio of a DJ and/or producer. You would visit their local haunts, perhaps where they began DJing, making or performing music, go for a meal or drink in their favourite local spot, or wherever else is relevant to their story. This aims to see the artist at their most relaxed, and inspired to show their personal history to the writer. A photographer will accompany the writer on the trip to get original shots of the locations discussed.

Artist interview involved?: Yes

Game Changer

Word count: 1800

Theme: Reflecting on a classic track, how it affected the career of the artist, the development of the genre, and its wider impact on dance music culture (perhaps even into mainstream music culture). The key to this is to get the origin story of the track from the producer — these original insights make Game Changer shine.

Artist interview involved?: Yes

Freelancers can also pitch live reviews for print. The word counts for this vary — 200 words (Quickfire), 500 (a one-pager), 800–1000 (a two-pager), 1000 (part of the Roots & Culture section, which focuses on a location within a specific scene). Regardless of word count, these should ideally have a bigger hook — it’s not just that there’s a cool DJ on the line-up, but that this club residency, new event series, festival, or venue deserves more attention. Is an artist performing a special new live show? A rare collaboration? Is this a new scene thriving away from the spotlight, or unique to a particular city? For the longer reviews, quotes from the artists featured are also required.

We are actively looking to broaden our coverage of dance music culture and grow our pool of regular writers. We would love to hear pitches from a diverse range of writers across the spectrums of gender, sexuality and ethnicity, and particularly if you feel your voice is underrepresented in electronic music writing.

If this has piqued your interest, then please consider pitching to us.

Thank you!

– Lauren Martin

Lauren Martin

Written by

Features Editor at DJ Mag (London)

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