Following a recent announcement of "diminished expectations" for the near future (see previous story) and a shakeup of upper management---in which Consumer Group marketing honcho Tom Jacoby was put out to pasture and audio guru Floyd Toole was promoted to senior vice president of acoustic and transducer engineering---Harman International Industries has put the finishing touches on a new 10,000-square-foot audio laboratory. At company headquarters in Northridge, CA, north of Los Angeles, the laboratory includes a 10,000-cubic-foot anechoic chamber for testing and measuring loudspeakers, and a multichannel room with computer-controlled, hydraulically operated platforms for positioning front left, center, and right speakers (a reviewer's dream!).
It's no secret that Dolby Laboratories doesn't aim its audio compression technologies at the high-end consumer audio market. After all, Dolby excels at finding ways to get maximum performance out of limited-bandwidth environments such as the audio cassette, or the space alloted for 5.1-channel soundtracks on DVDs.
In a move that is likely to push record labels into the uncharted territory of direct sales, BMG has announced its intention to add in-house sales to its network of music sites. "BMG will be moving in the fall to its own fulfillment capability because of the demands of consumers," said senior vice president Scott Dinsdale at the Business Online 98 conference in San Francisco last week.
Last week, Xing Technology Corporation announced its sponsorship of the First Annual MP3 Summit. In a statement, the company urged music-industry executives to discuss copyright issues, technical standards, and music distribution, and to participate in developing the future of MP3.
Fiscal year 1998 will be one of diminished expectations for Harman International Industries, Chairman Dr. Sidney Harman announced last week to assembled analysts and fund managers at a meeting in New York. He laid much of the blame on the continuing economic slump in Asia.
Digital radio company American Mobile Radio Corporation announced last Wednesday that it has exercised a $52.9 million option to upgrade its satellites. The move will potentially double the channel capacity of AMRC's nationwide satellite-direct audio radio service (SDARS), scheduled for the year 2000.
On June 17, Carlton Communications, owner of Technicolor, announced that it has entered into a merger agreement to acquire Nimbus CD International, one of the world's largest independent manufacturers of optical discs, including CD-Audio, DVD, DVD-ROM, and CD-ROM.
The "world's largest bookstore" may be on its way to becoming one of the biggest music stores, too. Two weeks ago, Amazon.com began a big push into CD retailing, more than doubling the number of its musical offerings to over 100,000 titles. (Competitor CDnow offers over 500,000 titles.) Visitors to the Amazon website can now click on a tab that will take them to a new music site, where they can listen to audio previews and read reviews, reprints of articles on bands and musicians, and music-industry news.
With the plethora of CD and DVD formats out there, it can be confusing figuring out what will work with what. Standards can help define specifications for a particular format, but often do little to guarantee compatibility between them.
On Wednesday evening, June 10, The Academy Advancing High Performance Audio & Video held its 1998 Golden Note Awards at the Marina Del Rey Ritz-Carlton. Following an address by John Hoskins of the Advantage Performance Group, a sales consulting firm, the amiable awards ceremony was MC'd by Paradigm's own stand-up comedian, Rob Sample. AAHPAV's ceaselessly energetic Chairperson Sue Regan assisted in the presentations, as did Academy President Joe Picirilli. And the hard-working winners (drum roll, please) are . . .
On June 7, CDnow, the world's top online music retailer, announced that it had acquired superSonicBOOM, an Internet custom-compilation disc business. The acquisition gives CDnow the ability to offer its customers custom discs as well as catalog product, said Jason Olim, CDnow President and CEO.