James Masterton (born 2 September 1973) is a music writer and columnist for the music website About.com, his weekly column focusing on the UK Singles Chart having been an online fixture on various sites since the 1990s. Masterton is also a producer for talkSPORT,and has worked on air as a presenter at the Bradford ILR station The Pulse.
Masterton began posting his weekly comments about the latest singles chart on Usenet in 1992, while a student at Lancaster University, whence he graduated in 1994. In 1995 he became an important element of BT's Dotmusic website, an online hub for the UK music scene and one of the few sites that posted the entire UK top 75 every week. When Dotmusic was purchased from BT by Yahoo! on October 28, 2003, Masterton's commentary moved to Yahoo! Launch with it, remaining with the site as it transformed into Yahoo! Music UK and Ireland until the site's closure in September 2011. His chart column moved to About.com, where it is published each week on Monday afternoon.
Masterton has made numerous appearances on TV and radio as an authority on music and chart matters. He has appeared on BBC News 24's Zero 30 programme, as a talking head on the Channel 4 show 100 Worst Pop Records and on the BBC News Channel segment E24.
Masterton has come into conflict in the past for his strident views on the work of particular veteran acts and in particular for his criticism of fan-inspired chart campaigns. In 2009 he was openly critical of the campaign to get Rage Against the Machine to Number One for Christmas, blasting the record as having been "purchased by fans for what it represents rather than as a reflection of its cultural popularity" and provoked anger amongst fans of the Pet Shop Boys for asking "why do they even bother" when their album Yes was released.
- BBC News 24. "Zero 30". Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- BBC News. "E24: The Week In Entertainment". Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- Blankenship, Mark. "What Does It Mean When British Pop Fans Rage Against The Machine". Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- Typing In Stereo. "Old people make music too!". Retrieved 16 November 2012.[permanent dead link]