Jason Lipshutz is executive director of music at Billboard, where he has worked since graduating from college in 2010 (with the exception of a one-year break in 2015). He’s had seven titles at the publication. As he puts it, “My favorite part of my job is that every day is totally different… I like being deployed in different areas at Billboard, and never get precious about any of my tasks.”
How did you get to where you are today, professionally?
I knew I wanted to do something with writing when I was growing up, but had no idea what, exactly, so I decided to enter college as an English major. During my freshman year at The College of New Jersey, I not only got really into indie music (as many college freshmen do), but got really into indie music criticism—as in, would memorize year-end critics list, try to guess what Pitchfork score the new Animal Collective album would get, become a dedicated fan of different bylines and columns (mostly at Pitchfork, and Cokemachineglow, and especially Stylus Magazine. Thank you Todd!). At some point during that freshman year, I realized that I wanted to try and join that world professionally, so I changed my minor from creative writing to journalism, started writing blog posts with titles like “Is Spoon Actually the Best Band in the World?,” and scouring for internships in New York City, which was an hour-long train ride away from my campus.
After bouncing around at a few different internships—I spent a spring semester at Seventeen, which was weird and hilarious and incredibly helpful, a story for a different day—I ended up as a web intern at Billboard, which was a very different animal back in 2008. Truthfully, I didn’t care much about the charts back then—I enjoyed pop music, but I enjoyed the new Frog Eyes album even more!—and didn’t think it would be a long-term fit for me, even as an aspiring music journalist. But I loved the staff, and became interested in chart machinations, and received opportunities to earn real bylines. I lingered around Billboard as an intern and freelancer for the next two years, and very fortunately received a call about an entry-level opening a few months after I graduated in 2010.