Yes, you read this correctly. Audio industry is indeed evil. There are some exceptions, which are few and far between.
Let me explain:
The manufacturers are evil because they're involved in price fixing. Everyone rants about competition in the high end business, but I tend to differ. The big name manufacturers such as Krell, Madrigal and others have divided the regions and the market into exclusivity zones. That's price fixing. I do not wish to get into an argument over the legality of it, that's a different topic of discussion. What I'm talking about is not whether the behavior they engage in is legal, but whether it's evil (in my definition of course). Not only do they carve up the market to ensure that you cannot get their equipment for 50 miles, but they also make sure that the dealer who carries their equipment does not carry the competitors. Hence, there is no high end dealer that I'm aware of that is capable of demonstrating to you a Krell and a Levinson amp and allow you to compare them side by side. Additionally, they do not transfer warranty, so that drives the resale value down and a second owner cannot get warranty repair even if the equipment is within the warranty period. That's also part of price fixing since driving the price down of used equipment discourages owners from selling their equipment too soon, thus keeping their stuff off the used market for as long as possible (at least for the duration of the warranty period)
The dealers are evil at worst and are just plain poopie fissures at best. Most of them are rude, condescending, unhelpful liars. In fact, used car dealers are boy scouts in comparison. "Competition" is a four letter word to them. They are absolutely petrified of the concept. Somehow, they feel as though they have a God given right to exist on this earth. Politeness, customer service, and support are inconveniences that these poor souls have to endure. "Ah, if only these filthy customers would just go away and only leave their cash behind, life would be so wonderful and we could bask in the glory that are we". This Louis XIV attitude exacerbates the way they treat the people who walk through their doors. It is as though they grant you this favor by allowing you to drop a measely $20k on a CD player at their premises. Every time I visit a high end dealer, I don't know whether to bow or to try to stick their heads on a chopping block the way they did in Paris in the 1790's.
The reviewers are evil too. Yes, they are. They are evil because you would be hard pressed to find a negative review of any piece of equipment in the media. The reviewers fail their mission because they do not act like a consumer advocate, which is what I think their function should be. They justify their behavior with such phrases as "We provide entertainment" or "We only provide an opinion". Well, if all that reviewers do is provide an opinion, then there's no such thing as a crappy component because everyone has different tastes and everyone has different opinions. Hence, no opinion is invalid and no sound reproduction can be bad. "Gee, TO ME, this poop smells like roses! How dare you object? It is MY opinion. MY opinion is just as valid as yours. You don't have to agree with me, but that's what my opinion is."
On the other hand, if all the reviewers do is provide entertainment, then it really doesn't matter what they say about a piece of equipment as long as the reading is fun. "At 5% THD, my Russian wife said in her very thick accent that the amplifier sounded just like Siberian balalaika that hung over front door of her log cabin when she was growing up." I don't know about you, but I'm certainly entertained.
Furthermore, the absence of negative reviews makes it impossible to gauge whether a piece of equipment hasn't been reviewed because it was never gotten to or because it's bad and didn't make the "cherry picking" process. Of course, the pushback is "you always have to listen for yourself". Whereas that's certainly true, it's not always feasible. Those who live in the boondocks of Midwest, Alabama or Montana may not have access to a dealer or a show where they can sample the equipment for themselves. Many of these guys have to buy blindly and the only thing they have to go by is a review.
The reviewers are also pretty chummy with the dealers and the manufacturers (I'm not even talking about the advertising revenues), which speaks for itself.
So, in the end, the entire high end audio industry is downright evil. As music lovers who would like to listen to quality reproduction, we are forced to pay OUTRAGEOUS amounts of money for components AND in addition we have to put up with such indignities as rude dealers, few and inconvenient dealer locations, entertainingly opinionated positive reviews, as well as the nerve of some to suggest that somehow the consumers of high end audio are responsible for the low number of enthusiasts that frequent the high end audio shops.
Some of you may say that of all the things that are wrong in this world, I'm getting my panties in a bunch over very silly things. That is very true. In the grand scheme of things, everything I've said is so far down the ladder of importance as to be a non-issue. However, in THIS, our little microcosm of audiophilia, there's nothing more important and everything takes a back seat.