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Like many other creative endeavours, music writing is a proto-professional practice built on the back of amateur enthusiasm, unpaid labour and informal networks of referrals and recruiting. Drawing on interviews with Australian music critics and journalists at different stages of their careers, this article examines the highly specific configurations of cultural, social and economic capital at work within this field. The authors begin by exploring the diverse career pathways of writers, before considering how writers locate themselves within industrial and creative networks. As amateur intermediaries engaged in the mediation of the cultural productions of others, music writers maintain particular notions of value that do not always align easily with creative labour models premised on artistic fulfilment or economic exploitation.
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