mu:zines is a non-commercial, labour-of-love archive project to collect, scan and re-publish old music production magazines in an accessible, and searchable form, for reference and general interest purposes.
It is also a crowdsourcing effort to obtain the issues we are missing, to help us to build up a complete archive of issues for archival purposes.
I had a lot of music magazines I had collected over the years up in the roof. I kept them around because there is invaluable info in them, especially in reviews of old, obscure gear, and interviews with musicians and producers about classic recordings.
It's also just interesting if you are a gear junkie, and this period (mid-to-late 80s through the 90s or so) was the dawn of the digital and software age, so there were a lot of new products around, many of which are impossible to find info on now. The internet was still around the corner, so much of this info has never found its way online.
Getting this stuff into the computer meant that I could preserve the content, without having to preserve the boxes and boxes of magazines - it also meant I could share what I have online, and hopefully get other people to contribute the stuff I don't have and fill in the gaps.
So for a number of years (probably throughout the late 90s) I had this in mind as a "nice to do one day when I had the time" project, but the enormity of the task made it difficult to commit to. However, everytime I had to spend hours routing around, digging through boxes of magazines to find that one article I needed for various reasons made me more and more interested in getting this stuff into the computer.
And then one summer in about 2006 I had some time and decided to at least have a look at the project a bit more seriously and see what the work was and how feasible it was to do.
I never just wanted to scan to PDF's and leave it at that, I wanted to make something more useful, so would have to build my own Content Management System - so I made a start and got the bare bones of it working well.
After that initial burst of activity I got into other things that absorbed my time elsewhere. From time to time I'd go back to this project and do a bit more content, then put it aside again, but it wasn't moving forward very quickly.
By this year (2015), in a break from another project, I found myself in a position to come back to mu:zines, and make some effort to really move it forward.
And so with a burst of scanning, processing, re-design and programming activity I got to the stage of being able to launch with a decent amount of content. I could then continue to add new content over time, and hoped that people would come forward to help fill in the gaps, either by donating or lending missing issues, or scanning their own for us.
Obviously, the goals are complete collections of the magazines we cover. Quicker than I ever thought I would, with the help of awesome contributors, I was able to complete collections of MT, early SOS, Home & Studio Recording, E&MM (the forerunner of MT), Electronic Soundmaker, and we are well on the way with other publications (a few of which have been added to the initial remit over time.)
When individual collections are complete and with good scans, I'll probably finally make PDF's of all issues available for archive purposes, but that's some time away.
These materials are an important, useful resource for the early days of music technology, which we take for granted now. Recording FSK sync code to one track of a cassette four-track so we could sync a sequencer and drum machine to a handful of noisy recordings, half-second sample times, limited track and voice counts are all things of the past. But it's important to remember how we got here, and providing this material here will hopefully go some way to doing that.
Other than a crazy amount of effort, this content is made available with the gracious support and permissions of many people listed below involved with the original publications.
Grab a coffee, look around, enjoy your stay.
And if you have a box of magazines tucked away somewhere, do please go and have a look - you might just have something we need!
Special thanks to Tim Goodyer & Dan Goldstein, Paul White, Mike Beecher, Paul Tingen, Ian Gilby and the SOS Publications team (Paul Gilby, Dave Lockwood) for granting permission to republish the early SOS and RM issues here, Future Publishing for their efforts in trying to track down old assets and the good wishes about getting the old MMP content online, Gary Cooper for help and permissions with Music UK and InTune, Joe Hosken (Electronic Soundmaker), Tony Horkins (International Musician), Tony Bacon and Paul Colbert (One Two Testing, Making Music), Adrian Walker and Brian Giddings (Making Music), Chris Kempster (The Mix), Darrin Williamson (Micro Music), Richard Elen (Sound International), Scott Lee (PAIA), Nicholas Rowland, David Mellor, Mark Jenkins and everyone who has helped out by providing missing issues, scans, feedback, monetary donations and interest in helping to make this site a useful and valuable archive - with a special thanks to Hugh Robjohns for spotting technical & electronics/circuit errors and Mike Gorman for continuing to provide and scan many issues from his own magazine collection.
Who's crazy idea was this, anyway?
Origins, history, manifest, and thanks...
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mu:zines is the result of thousands of hours of effort, and will require many thousands more going forward to reach our goals of getting all this content online.
If you value this resource, you can support this project - it really helps!