In the children's fable, Chicken Little, the archetypal alarmist, induced fear and panic in his community by running amok and shouting, "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" The hysterical fowl has many relatives among journalists and economists, who regularly issue dire warnings about the forthcoming Year 2000 problem.
The process becomes the product: in an announcement tinged with shades of This Is Spinal Tap, the band LIVE says it will be recording its next album under the scrutiny of a live internet camera. The webcast, which began July 17, is available on LIVE's website 24 hours a day, offering fans and the simply curious an "unblinking" glimpse of the creation of their new album, from "start to finish."
As digital distribution grows, the protection of copyrighted material---music, film, video, photographic images, paintings, drawings, and text---becomes ever more important. Tied to this are widespread concerns about maintaining security during online transactions---keeping credit-card numbers and customers' identities hidden from would-be thieves.
He's got his own bonds on Wall Street, houses all over the world, a fashion-model wife, and more wealth than any other rock star to date. But what he really wanted was his own Internet Service Provider. As a result, David Bowie goes online September 1 with the first rock-star-based ISP: BowieNet.
The DAC performance envelope has been pushed further by Burr-Brown Corporation. The Tucson semiconductor company has just announced the commercial release of its new PCM-1704, an ultra-high-quality digital/analog converter chip boasting a 120dB signal/noise ratio. The new chip supersedes the company's PCM-1702, a DAC found in many high-end products and widely considered the state of the art.
A recent report from Jupiter Communications claims that by the year 2002, fully 55% of the US population and 32% of European households will be browsing the Internet. Not only will this change the way poeple gather information for everything from fish food to concert schedules, it will also profoundly affect the way they shop.
The internet has been a boon to music lovers, who now can research almost any piece of music or artist, or shop for obscure discs and memorabilia from a plethora of sources. In an interesting twist on the additional material idea, Sony Music has been making supplemental content for selected CD releases available on a special website.
Canton, MA-based Tweeter Home Entertainment Group (NASDAQ: TWTR) has gone public. Last Thursday, July 16, the East Coast audio and video retailer launched an initial public stock offering of 2.71 million shares at an offering price of $17/share.
The Three Tenors may have reached a global audience of 2 billion people during their performance prior to the final game of the World Cup, but they had only 80,000 fans on hand in Paris's Champs de Mars park, acording to estimates by Paris police. That number was only 10% of the anticipated 800,000, most of whom stayed away because of unseasonably cold and windy weather.
The High End has reached a new low, one characterized by "existential angst." That's how Lawrence M. Fisher of the New York Times describes the industry's ongoing malaise. In a well-researched and well-written piece that appeared last Thursday, July 9, Fisher cites "demographic and economic issues beyond its control and technological trends that threaten its very relevance." He mentions the economic crisis in Asia---destination for a large proportion of American high-end audio products---as a major contributing factor to the stagnation in which much of the industry is mired.
Rumors began surfacing last month that McCormack Audio might be on the ropes. Long known for their value-oriented high-end products such as amps and preamps, the company had been struggling for the last couple of years (for reasons not connected with the quality of its products). But a savior has appeared that looks to put the company on a sure footing.
The audio business has been claiming its share of victims lately, with few companies able to reanimate once economic problems set in. Working hard to break this cycle, Carver Corp. became one of the first manufacturers to switch from a dealer-based operation to both dealers and internet sales.
E-mail spam just got a lot noisier thanks to AT&T's a2b music and BMG Entertainment. (See previous stories 1, 2.) Last week, they announced that BMG will deliver the first "mass communication" of a2b MAIL to the consumer databases of each of its websites, www.bugjuice.com (alternative and rock music), www.peeps.com (urban music), and www.twangthis.com (country music).
The Recording Industry of America's ongoing pursuit of music pirates bore fruit last week on Tuesday, July 7, when the organization collected $750,000 in settlements from three companies that had produced and marketed CD compilations of hit records. The RIAA also received $20,000 in restitution from Lloyd Schiffres, owner of Top Hat Productions, a disc-jockey supply house. Schiffres, who has been arrested three times, handed over 31 sets of his For DJs Only compilations.