FOB:D-DayGuns N' Roses fans have waited 17 years for a new album, but technology has not. In October, Universal Music was rumored to be hunting for an interactive agency to market Chinese Democracy, due out this month (and they really, really mean it this time). Around the same time, fan sites lit up with the news that Best Buy was taking pre-orders online. And this summer, a blogger was arrested on suspicion of posting nine unreleased tracks (nine! almost the whole album!) online.

It's slightly scandalous that any record would take this long to produce. Some will say it wasn't worth the wait. But its mysterious history now seems made for the Internet, the global engine of rumor, hyper-fandom and grassroots promotion. Plus, the album waited out what may have been the hardest stage of transition for the music industry. iTunes and Amazon now have deals with MySpace and YouTube. Research suggests that today's illegal downloaders spend almost the same chunk of their music budget on recorded music as those who pay for downloads.

When GNR last released a studio album, it was 1991. Today's 35-year-olds were high school seniors. Britney Spears was 9. Napster was still eight years away. When GNR started recording Chinese Democracy, in 1994, a Time cover story included a definition of the Internet: "the world's largest computer network." But this month, maybe, you can open a gratis Dr Pepper and watch as the story of Democracy plays out, post-revolution.
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