UK newspaper The Telegraph reported March 3 that Sir Paul McCartney has signed a $6 million deal to release the Beatles catalog to iTunes for downloading. While The Independent and the Daily Mail have also reported the same thing, there has been no confirmation from Apple, EMI, McCartney, surviving Beatle Ringo Starr, or the families of deceased members John Lennon or George Harrison.
Another of the great ones is gone. Norman Smith had been a refrigeration engineer, but at 36, he decided to apply for an entry-level position as a recording technician at EMI in the UK. EMI had a strict caste system at the time and technical staff (the "white coats") were considered a rank below that of producers and even of balance engineers, who were allowed to sit in the mastering room. By 1962, Smith was promoted to balance engineer and was paired with George Martin for the first Beatles recordings. As balance engineer, he chose the microphones and recording equipment for each session and Smith is generally given a great deal of credit for the clarity and accuracy of the group's recordings from the beginning through the recording of Revolver in 1965. Because of Smith's age (he'd seen service in WWII) and EMI's dress code (ties and lab coats), Lennon nicknamed him "Normal." (Hence the title of Smith's autobiography: John Lennon Called Me Normal.)
In January 2008, Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF) Senior Intellectual Property attorney, Fred von Lohmann filed an amicus brief in Atlantic v. Howell, a case that hinged on the Recording Industry of America Association's (RIAA) contention that offering files on a P2P sharing network was in and of itself evidence of copyright violations, whether or not it could prove the files were ever downloaded by others.
How could he?, they seem to say. In obituary after obituary, one reads how tenor Guiseppe di Stefano squandered his voice. Too much smoking, too much drinking, too much shouting at late-night parties, they declare. It's almost as though opera lovers feel betrayed, unable to forgive an artist who abused such glorious gifts so early in his career.
The consumer and retail tracking NPD Group released the results of a study on how people acquired music in 2007. NPD's data show a marketplace undergoing transition—although, depending on who's parsing the numbers, that could be read either as great news or the end of the world as we know it.
The Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) aggressive campaign against its customers has most recently relied heavily upon the "making available" argument. The RIAA has argued that the act of making a recording available on a peer-to-peer (P2P) network was a crime, even if nobody actually linked to or downloaded the files. In October 2007, judge Michael J. Davis ruled in Capitol Records v. Thomas that the labels did not need to establish that the songs Ms. Thomas loaded to her KaZaa account were downloaded by others. Ms, Thomas was held liable for $220,000 in penalties.
It starts quietly enough, with a simple falling-fifth motif, but the first movement of Sergei Rachmaninoff's neglected Piano Sonata 1 develops into a work of epic proportions nearly 40 minutes in length, with haunting melodies, massive dynamic contrasts, and lush, sensual harmonies.
Bentley Motors, the 89-year-old, Volkswagen-owned manufacturer of bespoke luxury automobiles has decided that a high-end audio system would complete its definition of automotive excellence, choosing Salisbury-based audio manufacturer Naim to develop a "Naim For Bentley" system.
Sony has triumphed once again. The company that has until now held control of the dominant audio format, "Red Book" CD, and the dominant high-resolution audio format, SACD, will now dominate high-resolution video as well with its Blu-ray technology.
Don Bouchard, Ultralink/XLO Products' executive vice-president, succumbed February 7, 2008 from injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident on December 15, 2007. Bouchard, riding with friends, had his front wheel drop into a hole in the pavement while traversing a railroad crossing and was thrown over his handlebars. The resulting injuries included a severe skull fracture, right-brain trauma, a broken clavicle, a broken rib, which punctured a lung, as well as internal trauma, multiple contusions, and bruising.
Logitech's Squeezebox Network Systems has added a new model, the Duet, which adds a 2.4" color-LCD screen and a scroll-wheel to the unit's hand-held remote (not unlike the Sonos system). The screen can display song titles, album art, customized wallpapers—even RSS feeds and radio station IDs.
On February 5, This Week in Consumer Electronics announced that Polk Audio had announced plans to sell its I-Sonic ES2 iPod docking tabletop hi-fi ($499) and miDock Studio portable iPod speaker through the Apple website and freestanding store network. This came less than a week after Polk announced that Best Buy would carry its TSi loudspeakers, PSW powered subwoofers, select RM series drive-units and, of course, the SurroundBar 360 DVD Theater (all of which are currently available from the rival Circuit City chain).
You thought the only new articles about CDs you'd be reading would be about further declines in sales? Well, it turns out that ArkivMusic, the country's leading website for new and formerly out-of-print classical recordings, posted, um, record sales last year.
Longtime Stereophile reader (and EFF senior staff attorney) Fred von Lohmann sent us a message pointing us to rumors that iPod Classics running v1.1 firmware were outputting DC through both their dock connection and headphone jack. He included a link to iLounge.com, which bills itself as "an independent provider of information about Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod and iPhone digital media players, accessories, and related software."