Entertainment news publications and online editions have sections written by critics. These could be movie reviews for a film that has released at a theater near you. It could also be the music reviews for an album that is slowly climbing up the charts. Critics have been panned by artists for centuries. Many artists relegate critics to the sidelines with the strong belief that they have taken up criticism only because they have not been able to create art themselves. But that opinion is not free from fallacy. Critics do their job and that job has a purpose.
The primary job of the critic is to inculcate good taste among audiences and viewers. Entertainment news portals are their media. Because a large chunk of the people read these entertainment news sites, the critics can reach out to more people with their views and opinion about things. The movie reviews that they write tell the audience what they can expect from the movie. They tell you if the movie ticket is worth your money or not. I'm not saying that you accept their opinion as gospel truth, but when learned critics say something, they must have some reason for doing so.
In the field of music, critics have a special to play as well. Music reviews inform and educate listeners about the trends of modern music. Being a connoisseur in music and performing arts, the critic manages to pack in his knowledge about music when he writes music reviews. The opinion of the critic is important for music reviews because the critic is well-aware of the different genres of music, be it Eastern, Western, jazz, blues or reggae. The critic pours out his knowledge on the entertainment news pages. Readers of these columns can only benefit from the learned wisdom of the critic.
Critics hold a lot of sway over the business aspect of the entertainment industry. Viewers go to the theaters mainly on what the opinion of the movie reviews is. They generally tend to head to the theaters with a pre-conceived idea formed by the reading of the critic's opinion. The same happens in case of music reviews. Sales of albums feel the effect of a critic's analysis, and if the critic happens to be someone of repute or from a respected publication, the impact is deeper. Music reviews are also important links in understanding the flow and direction modern music is taking.
Having said all these, I'm not saying that the critic is always right in his assessment. There are numerous examples of movies trashed by critics in the movie reviews but they have gone on to become blockbusters. Some, which the critics hailed as cinematic masterpieces, didn't find an audience. The viewer or the listener, in case of music reviews, is the ultimate judge. Critics writing for entertainment news publications can only claim to be guides. They point out certain aspects and the viewer has to decide if he agrees with the sensibilities of the critic in those aspects.