Down Beat is an American magazine devoted to "jazz, blues and beyond" to indicate its expansion beyond the jazz realm which it covered exclusively in previous years. The publication was established in 1934 in Chicago, Illinois. It is named after the "downbeat" in music also called "beat one" or the first beat of a musical measure.
Down Beat publishes results of annual surveys of both its readers and critics in a variety of categories. The Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame includes winners from both the readers' and critics' poll. The results of the readers' poll are published in the December issue, those of the critics' poll in the August issue.
Well-known features of Down Beat magazine include its "Reviews" section where jazz critics, using a '1-Star to 5-Star' maximum rating system, rate the latest musical recordings, vintage recordings, and books; articles on individual musicians and music forms; and its famous "Blindfold Test" column, in a which a musician listens to records by other artists, tries to guess who they are, and rates them using the 5-star maximum rating system.
In April 1979, Down Beat went to a monthly schedule for the first time since 1939.