Jem Aswad Named Variety’s Executive Editor, Music

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Jem Aswad, longtime music journalist, has been named Variety‘s Executive Editor, Music and will lead all music content across digital, print and live media platforms. The news comes on the heels of yesterday’s announcement that Shirley Halperin, the former EEM, had stepped down to become Editor-in-Chief of Los Angeles magazine.

Aswad will remain in Variety‘s New York office and report to co-editors in chief Cynthia Littleton and Ramin Setoodeh. 

“We could not be more excited to announce that Jem will be leading Variety’s music team,” said co-editor-in-chiefs Cynthia Littleton and Ramin Setoodeh in a statement. “Throughout his career, Jem has built his reputation as an award-winning reporter and editor who is respected for his in-depth knowledge of the music business and unparalleled access to artists. He will thrive in this new role.”

Aswad has held senior editorial posts at Billboard, MTV News, Spin, Time Out New York and CMJ in addition to three major music labels, two record stores and one PRO. He was named the Los Angeles Press Club’s Journalist of the Year/Online in 2021 and 2022 and its Best Music Critic twice. His work has been published in Rolling Stone, New York Magazine, the Village Voice, Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, the Trouser Press Record Guide and NPR among other publications.

In 2017, Aswad relocated to Variety  from Billboard with Halperin re-launching and transforming the Hollywood entertainment trade’s music coverage.

“I am so proud of what we’ve built at Variety,” Aswad said in a statement, “and as much as I’m going to feel like Paul without John or Snoop without Dre, we have such an incredible team and there is so much more we can do. I’m endlessly excited for what’s to come, and so grateful to Michelle, Cynthia, Ramin and everyone at Variety for their confidence and support.”

In recent years, Aswad has written cover stories on Billie Eilish, the Weeknd, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John & Dua Lipa, Spotify, Megan Thee Stallion, Phoebe Bridgers, Lil Nas X and others.