Sharing the Joy of Music at SSI 2014

I must admit that I was a bit worried when the change in ownership of Salon Son & Image was announced. What if the new owners want to move the show in directions that ruin what made the show successful in the first place? (I still remember when, a decade ago, new management decided to change the name of Stereophile Guide to Home Theater, thus discarding almost 10 years of brand equity.)

Having attended SSI 2014, I'm relieved to be able to say that the new ownership has followed the principle of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." The show still runs like a well-oiled machine, and whatever changes have taken place behind the scenes have had only a positive impact on the show. Encouraging more exhibitors to participate in the Sub-$5000 System project has had a laudable effect. Cancelling Trade Day was a good move in my opinion. As I understand it, Trade Day was intended to be a sort of mini-CES, but the numbers were not there to make it work. For most people involved in the show, the Trade Day was largely a waste of time—and the time and money spent on the Trade Day could be used more effectively by concentrating on the remaining days.

One trend that I noticed at this year's show was that there seemed to be more young people attending. This fit in with the observation by Jean Barbeau of Solen Electronique, mentioned in Art Dudley's posting, that more and more young listeners have been approaching Solen in recent months for DIY parts and advice.

The father-and-son pair of SSI 2014 attendees, shown in the picture, is an illustration of this trend. And I don't think it's coincidental that the system they're listening to so intently is a Sub-$5000 one. If audio is to continue to thrive, it needs to attract more young people—and Salon Son & Image is doing its part in facilitating this.

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