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The Music Network

SOS Online

Paul Gilby reports on SOS on-line activities on Europe's new electronic communications system.

This month we take you on a quick guided tour around the Sound On Sound area of The Music Network, Europe's new electronic communications system for musicians and the music industry.

On March 10th The Music Network (TMN) officially went on-line. Sound On Sound has its own special section on the network ready and waiting for you to access a whole host of facilities. This article looks at what's going on within the SOS On-line section and highlights some of its uses.


TMN welcome screen.

Once you have logged on to TMN you will be presented with the main welcoming screen. At this screen you should type the letter c (short for 'conferences') to see a list of all the different activities on the system. Here you will find such things as manufacturers' support groups, news sections, sound libraries and, of course, the SOS On-line area. Let's take a closer look at what's inside...

By typing a few commands you will arrive at the index page of the SOS area. Here you will see a screen listing all the different sections of our electronic version of Sound On Sound magazine. Current features include: news, articles, letters, classified adverts, mail order, bookshop and SOS Software. Further topics will be added to the services from time to time, and we're open to your suggestions.


Perhaps the first thing many of you will be saying to yourselves is, 'SOS On-line doesn't seem any different to the printed version'. Well, you're wrong. The topic headings seem familiar enough but they are not identical to those printed in the magazine. The difference lies in the very nature of the electronic publishing medium - namely speed, space and (most importantly) reader feedback! Let's run through the different topics in detail and see what's going on.

SOS News - this area contains all the latest news and new product information that we receive each week. This is where you can read about the hot new products from the manufacturers weeks before they get into print in the music monthlies, and in more depth. The whole section is updated on a weekly basis and encompasses a much wider topic range than we can possibly cover in Sound On Sound. The aim of SOS News is to offer a fast and comprehensive service for everyone, therefore readers and manufacturers are invited to send their news by electronic mail (E-mail) to the SOS News section. Our TMN system address is simply SOS.

SOS title page.

SOS Articles - magazines are often limited by the number of pages available for articles. In particular, lengthy in-depth features often have to be run in two parts or edited to fit. Within the article section of SOS On-line we will have an opportunity to run whole articles, no matter what length. We will have the scope to publish the full, unexpurgated transcript of an interview with a producer, musician, engineer etc, without space restrictions. Each month we'll be listing the contents of the latest magazine and including a good number of actual articles on the system for you to download, and read at your leisure. In addition, there will be further articles that will never appear in print. These will include background/research articles related to subjects and features in the current magazine.

Within this area you will also have an opportunity to respond to articles you have read, whether on the system or in print. So, if you have ever wanted to write directly to the author of an article and get a fast reply, this is how you do it. The whole idea is for you to ask questions, let us hear your queries and opinions, and get involved. Feedback is important to us.

SOS Letters - as regular readers of Sound On Sound know, we don't have a letters page in the magazine. This is because it takes so long to research and answer individual queries that we just don't have the time to do it and print a reply. Those readers who have written to SOS in the past will know that we tend to answer letters directly and in most cases by phone. The SOS Letters section is an open area where readers' letters may be 'posted' for everyone to see and respond to if they can help. Think of it like a club noticeboard. The concept is to offer a 'melting pot' of ideas where readers, authors, experts and music industry people can communicate their thoughts.

Classifieds - just like in the magazine, the Free Classified section on The Music Network is a service we offer readers who want to advertise their used equipment for sale. You can upload your classified for inclusion in this section, and we'll also take a copy and print it in the magazine.

Extract from the SOS Mail Order area.

Mail Order - this section is broken down into different areas: normal mail order services, like those which appear in the magazine (back issues, mouse mats, etc), the SOS Bookshop and SOS Software. Within each of these areas you can read descriptions of the products and order the items with your credit card. In the near future, we shall include a selection of the software programs we sell for you to download directly off TMN into your computer.

Coining Soon - the complete index to all articles ever published in SOS.


Many instrument and software manufacturers have expressed an interest in offering free membership to TMN for customers who buy their products. The idea is that you will receive a membership application form when you buy a particular manufacturer's product. If you're interested in joining, then you simply return the completed form to TMN for registration, and they waive your £45 sign-up fee.

TMN will be supplying a number of different modem and communications software packages for use with all the popular computers. If you have asked for an information pack you will be sent details of these packages. Customers who purchase a package will be given free membership to TMN.


Readers familiar with the idea of 'conferences' on other electronic systems, in particular CIX (Computer Information Exchange), have asked whether or not the £75 setup charge referred to in the TMN advert relates to every sort of conference. The answer is NO. That fee is charged to manufacturers only, who wish to provide an on-line User Support Group. General users may suggest conference topics directly to TMN who, in most cases and given sufficient demand, will open a free conference for that particular topic.


Technical enquiries recently received at the TMN office have asked about direct dial facilities into the system, as opposed to accessing through the PSS network. At this point in time, direct dial into the London number offers all speeds up to 1200 baud. 2400 baud will be available in early April and 9600 baud with error-correction should be in place the month after. Users who already have their own NUI can access The Music Network at the reduced rate of 9p per minute (plus VAT) instead of 12.5 pence.

All enquiries regarding membership and technical data should now be sent to the new TMN office.

The Music Network, (Contact Details).

Previous Article in this issue

Software Support

Next article in this issue

Sounding Off

Sound On Sound - Copyright: SOS Publications Ltd.
The contents of this magazine are re-published here with the kind permission of SOS Publications Ltd.


Sound On Sound - Apr 1989



Feature by Paul Gilby

Previous article in this issue:

> Software Support

Next article in this issue:

> Sounding Off

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