Electronic Musician – Why I’m dissatisfied

There’s a lot of reasons why I don’t like the new Electronic Musician, recently merged with EQ magazine. The Profile section is many pages, covering musicians who I don’t know in styles I don’t listen to, and they’re almost all guys. I didn’t do a statistical survey, but in the October 2011 issue, there’s a 2-page picture feature of a woman guitarist with a paragraph of comment describing her band’s style. There are 4 women writers with short columns and one of the shortest features, and the editor is a woman. But the majority of features, technical articles, and gear coverage are by and about guys.

There’s less coverage of various musical styles. For bands I haven’t heard of, the writer may not give a genre label or description of their style, assuming you know. As a classical and sometimes electroacoustic musician I know I’m not they’re target audience, but the technical-digital audio half of my brain always got something out of reading the mag. I used to tear out insightful or technically interesting articles to save. Now, most of the short columns are less technical. When I’ve read the new mag, I’m done with it.

When I open the new EM to a random page, I always seem to get the profile pages, not the short one-pagers that used to give me new musical and production ideas — the profiles are half the magazine, after all. In October, there are 60 pages of intro and profiles, 20 pages of gear, 28 pages in the “Learn” section – tutorials and tips columns. Throughout, most of the right-hand pages are ads. I don’t like the pseudo-clever label “Lust” for the gear and software section. I don’t even like the wider size; it doesn’t fit in my magazine piles neatly. Kvetch, kvetch.

I did read the whole mag, and there’s still some value in it. I listened to clips on iTunes of the featured bands. I got a few ideas of things to try in the home studio, like checking out more of my own sample library and trying some loops – not my usual modus operandi. I liked the column on career-development collaboration, although it was refresher info, not new. Not enough value to make me forget the problems though.

I unsubscribed from Keyboard because they “went back to basics”, i.e. dumbed it down and there wasn’t that much interesting left. Now I’m not sure I want Electronic Musician either.

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