It’s hard to say whether music sales have gotten over their mid-to-late-’90s slump, but if they have, the folks at Revolution are clearly in the know about what’s driving the industry — and us — now. Old stereophiles will complain that these folks don’t know equipment or sound quality from dirt, and music-mag purists may complain about the space wasted covering technology, but this book races down the middle, swift and sure. What’s more, Revolution throws a big, fiery Molotov cocktail at record industry ideology, suggesting that Napster and MP3s have actually served to boost record sales — that more people are purchasing CDs after “test driving” a track or two off the Internet.
Revolution is a little equipment-heavy, and a good bit of this first issue plays catch-up with MP3 newbies, even as it tries to school hipsters on the latest gizmos. But it’s largely accessible, and still provides good tips to those with an extra $300 just throbbing to turn itself to a personal MP3 player. Not all the techie stuff is hardware, either — music generating, modifying and playing software get their due, too.
Revolution’s first issue might even go down as being outright voluminous. That is, it’s packed with music too! It includes two CDs (not MP3 ones, either), artist profiles out front, interviews throughout and both online and record-store music reviews at the end. If you’re at all into techno, big beat or any of those other things people do with 303s, a mixer or two turntables, this is an issue to pick up. It’s positioned to become at least the (very commercial) RayGun of the next couple years, if not necessarily the next Rolling Stone. The only bad news is the magazine’s lame review of Fila Brazillia’s new CD.
Marc Christensen writes about books and music for Metro Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.