In some ways, entrepreneurs resemble the folks who fix your roof: When they see a hole somewhere, their job is to find a way to fill it. Long-time high-end audio veterans Mel and Howard Schilling and Doug Goldberg say they have spotted a hole in the audio market and are getting ready to launch a new company to fill it.
There's a widespread myth that writers who get published are more talented than writers who don't get published, and that musicians who make records are more talented than musicians who don't make records. But anyone with any talent who has ever tried to earn a living as a writer, a musician, or any other kind of artist understands that the correlation between merit and success is, at best, loose. Some successful artists are talented, and some talented artists are successful. But for every talented artist who manages to make a living there are a dozen more, equally deserving, who have no choice but to keep their day jobs.
Respondents to our weekly Stereophile polls often tell us they would buy more CDs if the prices weren't so high. So would their European counterparts, according to a survey released February 18 by the International Federation of Phonograph Industries (IFPI). Prices for recorded music are even higher in Europe than they are in the US.
One of the most significant trends in audio, witnessed at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, is the emergence of the music server market. Pioneer, Panasonic, Marantz, Meridian, Onkyo, Rotel, Philips, Linn, and others have emphasized audio products that can be networked with each other and the Internet, and are able to share content throughout a home. Pioneer even suggests that networks will not necessarily involve a PC, but instead consist of dedicated music-server-like components.
It has become commonplace these days for a hot album to hit the streets days—if not weeks or even months—before its official release, inspiring all manner of stupid promo tricks on the part of record labels. Pearl Jam's recent Riot Act was distributed to the press in portable CD players with the lids glued shut and last week saw the White Stripes record label create 500 promo vinyl LPs of the group's impending Elephant release in place of the traditional advance CDs in an effort to stymie the digital pirate's plans.
You want controversy? We got major controversy right here. In 1991, the Tice R-4 TPT and Coherence ElectroTec EP-C "Clocks" were released and then the fun started. Read everything Stereophile writers and readers had to say about these contentious products, as well as comments from the manufacturer.
Copy protection efforts currently being initiated by national lawmakers at the behest of the entertainment industry are based on a model of Internet use that will soon become obsolete, according to Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig.
It's tough to know which CDs, SACDs, and DVD-Audio discs have been restricted through watermarks or other "copy protection" techniques. This has created a thriving underground community, with websites such as Fat Chuck's devoted to sussing out the corrupted audio products and posting notification to consumers.
Paul Bolin exclaims, "Looking at the current digital scene is enough to confuse and confound just about anyone this side of Stephen Hawking." Bolin's review of the Ayre Acoustics D-1x DVD-Video/CD player is here to clear things up.