The US edition of Maxim magazine has said it was "a mistake" to give albums star ratings without listening to them.
Rap star Nas says Maxim reviewed his album before it was finished
The admission came as a second artist, rap star Nas, claimed the publication had reviewed his latest record before advance copies were made available.
Rock group Black Crowes also complained when Maxim gave their new album, Warpaint, 2.5 stars without hearing it.
"It's a mistake that won't happen again," said the magazine's editorial director James Kaminsky.
Rapper Nas, whose hits include Hip Hop Is Dead and If I Ruled The World, told the New York Post that he was surprised that Maxim had reviewed his album - because he hadn't finished recording it.
The magazine called his album "radio friendly" and gave it a rating of 2.5 stars out of five.
"I don't know what a music rating from Maxim is," the rapper was quoted as saying. "I don't know what it even means really.
"I'd prefer [a review from] Playboy."
Mr Kaminsky said the magazine's mistake had been to include star ratings on articles that were intended to be previews.
"There was a bit of a breakdown that led to that happening and I'm looking into it," he said.
"There should be no blurry line between what's a preview and what's a review."
The issue came to light after the Black Crowes complained about Maxim's review on their website.
Black Crowes' hits include Hard to Handle and She Talks to Angels
"Incredulously, the magazine gave the album a two-and-a-half star rating, although neither the writer nor the editor could have heard more than one song - the single Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution," they wrote.
The magazine's actions were "a disgrace to the arts, journalism, critics, the publication itself and the public", according to the Black Crowes' manager, Pete Angelus.
Mr Angelus was unswayed by the magazine's apology.
"It comes as no surprise that Maxim has elected to apologise to their readers now that the world has been informed of their deception. However, that is not full accountability," he said.
Jason Fine, executive editor of US music magazine Rolling Stone, said it was becoming increasingly difficult for magazines to review records in time for their publishing deadlines.
"The big records are the most difficult ones to get," he told the Associated Press. "The record labels are increasingly worried about leaks."