How to pitch features to DJ Mag

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.

The website is run by the Digital Editor Rob McCallum (rob.mccallum@djmag.com) and Deputy Digital Editor Eoin Murray (eoin.murray@djmag.com), who are 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 8 weeks 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 2022, across print and digital, we’re looking for pitches for long-form 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 talking point. For more interview-heavy features, we are keen to hear from labels and collectives that are focused on particular cities, genres, or micro-scenes.

As the pandemic rolls on, we continue to be open to pitches for topical features, opinion pieces and long-form reportage on how the COVID-19 pandemic affects the electronic music industry globally. We are also interested in pitches for similar formats on how Brexit continues to affect the industry in the UK and Europe.

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. Last 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, Afrohouse and amapiano, 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 recent long-form features have been: Tresor at 30: The evolution of a Berlin techno institution, The fight against the opioid crisis in US clubbing, Who owns the night?: The complicated reality of the night-time economy, How can clubs become more accessible for those with disabilities?, The LGBTQ+ club nights fighting for diversity in drum & bass, AI futures: how artificial intelligence is infiltrating the DJ booth, The true story of how India partied through Covid-19, Ticket touting is ruining live music for real fans, What are NFTs and why should electronic music care?, The rise of street-hop, Lagos’ evolving dance sound and The fight for the future of Irish clubbing

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 long-form feature pitches for print, 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.

We do have shorter, regular feature formats in the magazine. If you want to pitch for these, please email carl@djmag.com and ben.hindle@djmag.com

The formats open to freelance pitches are:

Music columns:

Word count: 500 in prose, 100–200 for a chart

Theme: As part of the new music reviews section, DJ Mag publishes four columns per issue by journalists, spotlighting music, artists and hot topics from different scenes across the world. The writers and genres rotate monthly or bi-monthly in order to keep the voices and sounds fresh. Along with each column, writers must submit a 10-track chart of recent releases along the theme of the column. This chart could be written by a guest artist. Previous column topics have included: underground dance music from the South Asian diaspora, dancehall artist focus, drum & bass charity releases, what’s hot in acid, the Japanese doujin scene, why clashes are important for grime, and Irish electro. Please pitch to ben.hindle@djmag.com

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

Fee: £180

Live event reviews

Theme: As club and festival events return worldwide, so will our event reviews. Rather than re-instating a UK-wide event previews section, we’re going to run longer, focused reviews on club and festival events with a contemporary angle. Is it a unique festival, run for the first time? A niche and long-running favourite that doesn’t get the love it deserves? Is it held in a special location, have an unusual booking brief, or is hotly anticipated; saying something interesting about the current climate within dance music? If so, we’d like to review it.

Word count: 1200–1800

Artist interview involved?: Ideally, yes. To make these more in-depth, speaking to an artist or member of the event team about the curation, planning and running of the event would certainly be worthwhile. And some quotes from attendees — both positive and negative, if need be — wouldn’t go amiss, either.

Note: In order to keep it as timely as possible, depending on how the event dates lines up with our print deadlines, we may publish event reviews online before they run in print. This can be discussed on a case by case basis.

Fee: £240–360

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.

Fee: £30

Get To Know

Word count: 600

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

Fee: £120

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

Fee: £480

Game Changer

Word count: 1800–2200

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

Fee: £360–440

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

Features Editor at DJ Mag (London)