Last updated
Type of site
Online magazine
Available inEnglish
OwnerSarah Zupko
Created bySarah Zupko
EditorKaren Zarker
Website popmatters.com
Alexa rankIncrease2.svg 34,585 (March 2019) [1]
LaunchedOctober 1999;20 years ago (1999-10)
Current statusActive

PopMatters is an international online magazine of cultural criticism that covers many aspects of popular culture. PopMatters publishes reviews, interviews, and detailed essays on most cultural products and expressions in areas such as music, [2] television, films, books, video games, comics, sports, theater, visual arts, travel, and the Internet. [3]

An online magazine is a magazine published on the Internet, through bulletin board systems and other forms of public computer networks. One of the first magazines to convert from a print magazine format to being online only was the computer magazine Datamation. Some online magazines distributed through the World Wide Web call themselves webzines. An ezine is a more specialized term appropriately used for small magazines and newsletters distributed by any electronic method, for example, by electronic mail. Some social groups may use the terms cyberzine and hyperzine when referring to electronically distributed resources. Similarly, some online magazines may refer to themselves as "electronic magazines" or "e-magazines" to reflect their readership demographics or to capture alternative terms and spellings in online searches.

Popular culture is generally recognized by members of a society as a set of the practices, beliefs and objects that are dominant or ubiquitous in a society at a given point in time. Popular culture also encompasses the activities and feelings produced as a result of interaction with these dominant objects. Heavily influenced in modern times by mass media, this collection of ideas permeates the everyday lives of people in a given society. Therefore, popular culture has a way of influencing an individual's attitudes towards certain topics. However, there are various ways to define pop culture. Because of this, popular culture is something that can be defined in a variety of conflicting ways by different people across different contexts. It is generally viewed in contrast to other forms of culture such as folk culture, working-class culture, or high culture, and also through different theoretical perspectives such as psychoanalysis, structuralism, postmodernism, and more. The most common pop-culture categories are: entertainment, sports, news, politics, fashion, technology, and slang.

Music form of art using sound and silence

Music is an art form and cultural activity whose medium is sound organized in time. General definitions of music include common elements such as pitch, rhythm, dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture. Different styles or types of music may emphasize, de-emphasize or omit some of these elements. Music is performed with a vast range of instruments and vocal techniques ranging from singing to rapping; there are solely instrumental pieces, solely vocal pieces and pieces that combine singing and instruments. The word derives from Greek μουσική . See glossary of musical terminology.



PopMatters was founded by Sarah Zupko, who had previously established the cultural studies academic resource site PopCultures. [4] PopMatters launched in the fall of 1999 [5] as a sister site providing original essays, reviews and criticism of various media products. Over time, the site went from a weekly publication schedule to a five-day-a-week magazine format, expanding into regular reviews, features, and columns. In the fall of 2005, monthly readership exceeded one million.

From 2006 onward, PopMatters produced several syndicated newspaper columns for McClatchy-Tribune News Service. [6] As of 2009, there are four different pop culture related columns each week.

The PopMatters Book Imprint published Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion, edited by Mary Money, with Titan Books in May 2012. The imprint also published four books in a series with Counterpoint/Soft Skull [7] in 20082009 including China Underground by Zachary Mexico, Apocalypse Jukebox: The End of the World in American Popular Music by Edward Whitelock and David Janssen, Rebels Wit Attitude: Subversive Rock Humorists by Iain Ellis, and The Solitary Vice: Against Reading by Mikita Brottman.

Mikita Brottman Scholar, author

Mikita Brottman is a British American non-fiction author, scholar, and psychologist known for her interest in true crime. Her writing blends a number genres, often incorporating elements of autobiography, psychoanalysis, forensic psychology, and literary history.


PopMatters publishes content from contributors located around the globe, based in six continents and numerous countries. Its staff includes writers from various backgrounds, ranging from academics and professional journalists to career professionals and first time writers. Many of its writers are published authorities in various fields of study. [3] [8] Notable former contributors include David Weigel, political reporter for Slate , [9] Steven Hyden, staff writer for Grantland and author of Whatever Happened To Alternative Nation?, [10] and Rob Horning, executive editor of The New Inquiry. [11] Karen Zarker is the senior editor.

David Weigel American journalist and blogger

David Weigel is an American journalist. Since 2015, he has worked for The Washington Post. Weigel previously covered politics for Slate and Bloomberg Politics and is a contributing editor for Reason magazine.

<i>Slate</i> (magazine) U.S.-based online magazine

Slate is an online magazine that covers current affairs, politics, and culture in the United States. It is known—and sometimes criticized—for adopting contrarian views, giving rise to the term "Slate Pitches". It has a generally liberal editorial stance.

Steven Hyden is an American music critic. He hosts the podcast Celebration Rock and is the author of the books Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me (2016), on rivalries in pop music history, and Twilight of the Gods (2018), on the history of classic rock. He is a critic for Uproxx and previously served as staff writer at Grantland and an editor at The A.V. Club.

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Lisa Crystal Carver American musician

Lisa Crystal Carver, also known as Lisa Suckdog, is an American writer known for her writing in Rollerderby. Through her interviews, she introduced the work of Vaginal Davis, Dame Darcy, Cindy Dall, Boyd Rice, Costes, Nick Zedd, GG Allin, Kate Landau, Queen Itchie, and Liz Armstrong to many. A collection of notable articles from the zine was published as Rollerderby: The Book.

Greil Marcus American historian

Greil Marcus is an American author, music journalist and cultural critic. He is notable for producing scholarly and literary essays that place rock music in a broader framework of culture and politics.

Suck.com was one of the earliest ad-supported content sites on the Internet. It featured daily editorial content on a great variety of topics, including politics and pop-culture. Its intended readership was the so-called "Generation X". The website's motto was "A fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun". Despite not publishing new content since 2001, the site remained online until December 2018.

<i>First Things</i> conservative, ecumenical magazine on religion and public life

First Things (FT) is an ecumenical and conservative religious journal aimed at "advanc[ing] a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society". The magazine, which focuses on theology, liturgy, church history, religious history, culture, education, society and politics, is inter-denominational and inter-religious, representing a broad intellectual tradition of Christian and Jewish critique of contemporary society. Published by the New York–based Institute on Religion and Public Life (IRPL), First Things is published monthly, except for bi-monthly issues covering June/July and August/September.

Crawdaddy was an American rock music magazine launched in 1966. It was created by Paul Williams, a Swarthmore College student at the time, in response to the increasing sophistication and cultural influence of popular music. The magazine was named after the Crawdaddy Club in London and published during its early years with an exclamation point, as Crawdaddy!

Jack Sargeant (writer) British writer, performer and curator.

Jack Sargeant is a British writer specializing in cult film, underground film, and independent film, as well as subcultures, true crime, and other aspects of the unusual. In addition he is a film programmer, curator, academic and photographer. He has appeared in underground films and performances. He currently lives in Australia.

3:AM Magazine is a literary magazine, which was set up as 3ammagazine.com in April 2000 and is edited from Paris. Its editor-in-chief since inception has been Andrew Gallix, a lecturer at the Sorbonne.

Rob Sheffield American music journalist

Robert James Sheffield is an American music journalist and author.

Sturtevant Tice Burr, known as Ty Burr, is an American film critic, columnist, and author who writes for The Boston Globe.

Brad Listi is an American author and podcast host. His first novel, Attention. Deficit. Disorder., was published by Simon & Schuster in February 2006, and became a Los Angeles Times Bestseller. His second book, Board, co-authored with Justin Benton, is an experimental nonfiction literary collage published by TNB Books, the publishing imprint of the online culture magazine and literary collective The Nervous Breakdown, of which Listi is the founding editor. TNB has more than 1,000 contributors and featured authors and a monthly book club, the TNB Book Club.

Comics Bulletin website with an emphasis on the American comic book industry

Comics Bulletin is a daily website covering the American comic-book industry.

Rob Kirkpatrick is an American literary agent, editor, and author. He has published the books of many well-known authors, primarily in the field of nonfiction. He is also an author in his own right, most notably of the narrative history 1969: The Year Everything Changed.

Joe Bonomo is an American essayist and rock and roll writer.

Spectrum Culture is an online music, film, food, and print media webzine that provides weekly reviews and a variety of special features in these areas. It is characterized by its in-depth and sometimes irreverent cultural criticism of both indie and mainstream cultural topics. Spectrum Culture's work has been featured on the official websites of various artists, films, and restaurants across the internet.

FUSE was a Toronto-based Canadian non-profit arts and culture periodical published by Artons Cultural Affairs Society and Publishing Inc. FUSE was one of Canada’s longest running alternative art publications. Throughout its 38 year history, the focus has been the interchange between art, media, and politics. The magazine published its final issue in Winter 2013, under the editorial direction of Gina Badger.

<i>Grantland</i> Sports and pop culture website founded by Bill Simmons and owned by ESPN

Grantland was a sports and pop-culture blog owned and operated by ESPN. The blog was started in 2011 by veteran writer and sports journalist Bill Simmons, who remained as editor-in-chief until May 2015. Grantland was named after famed 20th-century sportswriter Grantland Rice (1880–1954).

<i>Wales Arts Review</i>

The Wales Arts Review is a critical writing hub for Wales. Published fortnightly, it offers a critique, by Welsh writers, of various social and cultural aspects of Wales.


  1. "PopMatters Site Info". Alexa Internet.
  2. Milam, Chris (2009-11-17). "Did Zach Braff Kill American Music?". The New York Times . Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  3. 1 2 "About PopMatters". PopMatters.
  4. "Sarah Zupko: Why Pop Matters". Rockcriticsarchives.com. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
  5. "Decade-Dense: The 60 Most Memorable Films of 1999 - PopMatters". PopMatters.com. Retrieved 2018-10-23.
  6. "Partnership for McClatchy and PopMatters.com". Editor & Publisher . 2006-09-25.
  7. "Soft Skull and PopMatters Sitting In A Tree". Booksquare.com. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
  8. "Michael E. Ross NBC News editor and correspondent". NBC News.
  9. "David Weigel". PopMatters. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  10. Hyden, Steven. "An Interview with Doug Martsch". PopMatters. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  11. "Rob Horning". PopMatters. Retrieved 25 March 2013.