Music Journalists

Top Music Journalists

Music is food for the soul. Don’t take our word for it. Ask any of the hardcore music critics out there, and they’ll tell you that there’s a lot more to those notes coming out of famous artists’ creative inks.

Speaking of critics, we wanted to have an exclusive list of the top music journalists for a couple of reasons. Yes, these intellectual giants have become the lesser-known prodigies of the music journalism industry, and we wanted to give the long-due credit. That’s one reason to adorn this post with names worthy of your attention.

Why Do You Need To Look For Top Music Journalists?

Ever read a bodacious report on a music album, only to forget about it later? Or have you ever heard a song and wanted to find out some of the background information about it; the kind of stuff that artists don’t go into too much details these days? That’s where these music critics come in.

They fill the gap and bring artists, media outlets, and fans together for collaboration.

Another main factor for curating a list of the top music journalists is for all those people who are on the lookout for a reliable source. Oftentimes, aspiring PR journalists, during their training phase, are in need of a credible source; some sort of veteran in the industry who has heard and written about it all.

Whether it’s Robert Christgau, the ‘Dean of American Rock Critics’ himself, or the infamous journalist: ‘LOBF’, there’s something on this list to pique everyone’s interest. You can also do your own search based on beat, location, and genre of the music with which a journalist is associated. That is, of course, if you are not happy with the list of top music critics that we have put together so far.

Top Music Journalists

1. Jon Pareles The New York Times


2. Allan Kozinn The Wallstreet Journal


3. Ann Powers National Public Radio


4. Greg Kot Coda Collection


5. Jim Fusilli The Wallstreet Journal


6. Jon Caramanica The New York Times


7. Nate Chinen WBGO


8. Chris Richards The Washington Post


9. Hugh McIntyre Forbes


10. Insanul Ahmed Genius


11. Jem Aswad Variety


12. Jon Bream  StarTribune


13. David Browne Rolling Stone


14. Scott Cantrell The Dallas Morning News


15. Hazel Cills National Public Radio


16. Justin Davidson New York Magazine


17. Hannah Edgar Chicago Tribune


18. Shirley Halperin Variety


19. Dave Holmes Esquire


20. Craig Bro Dude Vulture


21. Andrew Kirell The Daily Beast


22. Craig Marks Los Angeles Times


23. Bryan Rolli Forbes


24. Hank Shteamer Rolling Stone


25. Bijan Stephen The Nation

Jon Pareles

Chief Popular Music Critic, The New York Times


Jon Pareles

Jon Pareles has been the chief popular music critic at The New York Times since 1988. He has written for magazines like Rolling Stone, Blender and Spin, newspapers including The Washington Post and the New York Daily News, and alternative weeklies including the Village Voice and the Boston Real Paper.

Allan Kozinn

Journalists, Music Critic, The Wallstreet Journal


Allan Kozinn

Allan Kozinn is an American journalist, music critic, and teacher. He was formerly at the NYT and now reviewing for the Wall Street Journal and fine publications everywhere.

Ann Powers

Critic and Correspondent, National Public Radio


Ann Powers

Ann K. Powers is an American writer and pop music critic. She is a music critic for NPR and a contributor at the Los Angeles Times, where she was previously chief pop critic. She has also served as pop critic at The New York Times and an editor at The Village Voice.

Greg Kot

Editorial Director, Coda Collection


Greg Kot

Greg Kot is the editorial director of The Coda Collection. He is also the cohost of the nationally syndicated public-radio show and podcast “Sound Opinions” with Jim DeRogatis, and previously the music critic at the Chicago Tribune for 30 years.

Jim Fusilli

Rock and Pop Music Critic, The Wallstreet Journal


Jim Fusilli

Jim Fusilli is the rock and pop music critic of The Wall Street Journal. Fusilli is also founder and editor of www.ReNewMusic.net, a destination for “Music for Grownups.”

Jon Caramanica

Pop Music Critic, The New York Times


Jon Caramanica

Jon Caramanica is an American journalist and pop music critic who writes for The New York Times. He is also known for writing about hip hop music.

Nate Chinen

Director of Editorial Content, WBGO


Nate Chinen

Nate Chinen has been writing about jazz for more than 20 years. He spent a dozen of them working as a critic for The New York Times, and helmed a long-running column for JazzTimes. As Director of Editorial Content at WBGO, Chinen works with the multiplatform program Jazz Night in America and contributes a range of coverage to NPR Music.

Chris Richards

Pop Music Critic, The Washington Post


Chris Richards

Chris Richards has been The Washington Post’s pop music critic since 2009. Before joining The Post, he freelanced for various music publications.

Hugh McIntyre

Contributor, Forbes


Hugh McIntyre

Hugh McIntyre is a contributor at Forbes. Unlike other critics, McIntyre contributes to both big and small magazines including Huffington Post, Billboard, and Pop! Bang! Boom!.

Insanul Ahmed

Executive Editor, Genius


Insanul Ahmed

Insanul is a life long hip-hop fan who hails from The Bronx, where he spent the majority of his life. He spent six years working at Complex covering music. At Complex he wrote cover stories on Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller, and Kendrick Lamar.

Jem Aswad

Deputy Music Editor, Variety


Jem Aswad

Jem Aswad, who launched Variety’s music section with executive music editor Shirley Halperin in April 2017, has held senior posts at Billboard, MTV News, Spin, Time Out New York and CMJ as well as Atlantic, Warner Bros. and Caroline Records and ASCAP. His writing has appeared in New York, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, the Village Voice, Esquire and many other publications.

Jon Bream

Reporter and Critic | Pop music, StarTribune


Jon Bream

Jon Bream has been a music critic at the Star Tribune since 1975, making him the longest tenured pop critic at a U.S. daily newspaper. He has attended more than 8,000 concerts and written four books (on Prince, Led Zeppelin, Neil Diamond and Bob Dylan).

David Browne

Senior Writer, Rolling Stone


David Browne

David Browne is an American journalist and author. He is currently a senior writer at Rolling Stone, where he has been a contributor since 2008. He was the resident music critic at Entertainment Weekly between 1990 and 2006.

Scott Cantrell

Special Contributor, The Dallas Morning News


Scott Cantrell

Staff classical music critic of The News from 1999 to 2015, Scott Cantrell continues contributing as a freelance writer on classical music and art.

Hazel Cills

Freelance Journalist, Weekend Editor, National Public Radio


Hazel Cills

Hazel Cills is a culture reporter and editor based in New York. She currently works at NPR Music as Weekend Editor, where she edits breaking music news, criticism, essays, and interviews for NPR.org. Previously she was the pop culture reporter at Jezebel, where she interviewed musicians, directors, authors, and reported features on culture and the entertainment industry.

Justin Davidson

Classical Music & Architecture Critic, New York Magazine


Justin Davidson

Justin Davidson is a classical music and architecture critic. In 1983, he graduated from the American Overseas School of Rome, where his mother was an English teacher.

Hannah Edgar

Freelance Writer, Music Critic, Chicago Tribune


Hannah Edgar

Hannah Edgar writes about classical, jazz and experimental music for the Chicago Tribune and other publications. Edgar was a Rubin Institute for Music Criticism Fellow in 2018 and a Bang on a Can Summer Institute Media Fellow in 2019.

Shirley Halperin

Executive Music Editor, Variety


Shirley Halperin

Shirley Halperin is Executive Editor of Music at Variety, where she spearheads music coverage for the print magazine and Variety.com. Through her 20-year career, she has held staff positions at Entertainment Weekly, Teen People and Us Weekly and was also a regular contributor to Rolling Stone.

Dave Holmes

Editor-at-Large, Esquire


Dave Holmes

David Robert Holmes is an American writer, producer, and television personality who gained national attention as the runner-up on MTV’s first Wanna Be a VJ contest in 1998. From the beginning, he distinguished himself from other candidates with an encyclopedic knowledge of music trivia.

Craig Bro Dude

Music Critic, Vulture


Craig Bro Dude

Craig Bro Dude is a Music critic at @Vulture/@NYMag and he is a 2021 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism.

Andrew Kirell

Senior Editor, The Daily Beast


Andrew Kirell

Andrew Kirell is currently a senior editor at The Daily Beast, overseeing political media coverage. He is also a singer-songwriter and his first EP, The Basement Demos, was released in 2018.

Craig Marks

Music Editor, Los Angeles Times


Craig Marks

Craig Marks is the Los Angeles Times music editor. He has previously served as the top editor of Spin, Blender and Billboard magazines. He is the co-author of the 2011 oral history “I Want My MTV: An Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution” and a forthcoming oral history on the WWE. (Yes, wrestling.)

Bryan Rolli

Senior Contributor, Forbes


Bryan Rolli

Bryan Rolli is an Austin-based journalist, musician and glam band aficionado. His work has appeared in Billboard, Forbes, Consequence of Sound and more.

Hank Shteamer

Senior Music Editor, Rolling Stone


Hank Shteamer

Hank Shteamer is a senior music editor at Rolling Stone. He has written about music professionally for more than 15 years. He wrote a book on Ween’s ‘Chocolate and Cheese’ album for the 33 1/3 series, and runs Heavy Metal Bebop, an interview series dedicated to the intersections of jazz and heavy metal.

Bijan Stephen

Music Critic, The Nation


Bijan Stephen

Bijan Stephen is a music critic for The Nation. He lives in New York and his other work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic, Esquire, and elsewhere.

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