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Real Life “Almost Famous?” This Music Journalist Got Paid

Cameron Crowe’s coming-of-age classic “Almost Famous” is an entertaining, albeit slightly inaccurate portrayal of music journalism. Sure, we can suspend our belief about one particular teenage boy getting offered $1000 for a feature in 1973, but overall this movie sets unrealistic financial expectations for freelance music journalists. Trust us, we know.

Nevertheless, one ambitious freelancer is living out her “Almost Famous” fantasy by actually getting paid! That’s right, 23-year-old Tonya Comstock interviewed a band for her local newspaper and received legal American money for her work. Usually, music journalists are lucky to get a spot on the guest list, a free album from a record label’s PR team, or maybe even a cigarette if they’re interviewing a really cool band. But money? That’s a level of success only seen in the movies.

This is really exciting for Tonya’s career. She may not make enough to quit her day job as a barista, but she made $35. That’s the same amount of cash William Miller got to review a Black Sabbath show before landing a cover story for Rolling Stone. Granted, that kid made a lot more when you remember $35 in 1973 is over $200 adjusted for inflation today, but Tonya is still psyched to have beer money.

Getting paid isn’t the only way Tonya lives out her “Almost Famous” fantasy. She also gets constant phone calls from her overbearing mother who hates rock music and begs her not to do drugs. If scenes from “Almost Famous” keep happening in her personal life at this rate, she’ll be writing for Rolling Stone in no time!

Regardless of the implications for her budding journalism career, Tonya should be proud to earn actual cash. She has plenty of time to pitch even more paid gigs on the flight to her sister’s wedding. Hopefully, that plane ride goes more smoothly than the one in her favorite film about music journalism!