|Submitted by Elteto on Tue, 10/21/2008 - 23:10|
Whether you are a seasoned producer or just getting started in making music, there are plenty of periodicals out there for you.
I must probably open with an apology: If it seems like I focus primarily on computer-based music production, that is simply because I happen to do my craft in the digital domain, so I discuss my explorations in that discipline. By no means do I believe that human performances, acoustic instruments and analog recording are inferior or obsolete. I use the resources I have available, and try to share the learning experiences along the way. Professional reading is an integral part of this learning experience.
It is interesting to see what a considerable percentage of computer music production magazines are British imports. In many instances, of course, American popular music (we will have a heated discussion about the term later) traces its roots over the pond, but with such an extensive music culture as our country has, we need more domestic options, not having to spend $15 on just one issue of an imported magazine (even if it is often worth it, as discussed below).
Not that those magazines are not of excellent quality. From their format and fancy paper stock to their content and included media, magazines such as Computer Music, Sound on Sound, FutureMusic, and MusicTech are highly valuable sources of music production education. Sound on Sound even has a more affordable American version now, in addition to digital subscription.
A great advantage of these titles coming from overseas is the diversity they introduce into the world of music production. It turns out that European musicians are just as geeky about their craft as we are, but introduce different angles on the art, providing valuable lessons and inspiration, infusing different music styles into the business. (On a quick side note, the whole debacle with the 'techno' and 'euro' terminology is another interesting cross-cultural issue. European musicians call techno what Americans call euro, and then there are all those spinoff-ish genres such as trance, house, dance, electronica, lo-fi, minimal; sometimes nobody even can tell the difference.)
The higher price of some of these magazines are well justified by the included media. These multi-gigabyte discs usually contain software demos, audio/video interviews, tutorials, full software releases, virtual instruments, and samples. Computer Music provides a full production suite every month, with the samples changing every issue to reflect the cover subject. The last issue had a full orchestral sample kit.
As music technology rapidly evolves, an active musician must keep his or her skills sharp, and with the time the publishing of a book takes from writing to printing, industry magazines are the best printed sources of up to date information. I just wish book stores were not so inconsistent with the shelf dates and stocks, as I may only want a few issues of one magazine, instead of subscribing to them all.