One argument for the record industry's disappointing sales last year is a combination of high prices for official CD releases coupled with cheap prices for computer-based CD recorders and CD-R blanks. It doesn't look like retail CD prices will be coming down anytime soon, but luckily for the music business, CD-R prices are going up.
Back in September, the Secure Digital Music Initiative issued a public challenge that offered cash rewards for successfully uncovering and removing watermarks from recorded music. The challenge was met by a number of hackers, most notable among them Professor Edward Felten of Princeton University's Computer Science Department.
Amid news that its watermark technology for DVD-Audio may have been compromised, Verance nonetheless announced last week the launch of its "ConfirMedia" watermarking service. The company says that ConfirMedia will monitor and report the airplay of encoded commercials, music, and programs broadcast by television, cable and radio stations in the 100 top US markets and on the national feeds of major broadcast and cable television networks in the US.
I get mail. Boy do I get mail! But I love hearing about and sharing some of the tips'n'tweaks from all you Victims of the Musical Quest. I can't help myself. Neither can you, I understand. Come to me. [sob]
I suspect that the faces of many of the readers who thumb through the pages of Stereophile must resemble those peering out of some Norman Rockwell representation of Americana: little children, their noses pressed hard against the display window of an urban department store in the weeks preceding Christmas, eyes aglow at the sight of some epic model train or exquisitely detailed dollhouse. So near, yet so far.
Having previous experience working for the CIA or the KGB may be a bonus on the resume of any aspiring audio industry applicant, it seems. In an effort to stymie the illegal copying and distribution of digital song files, record companies and hardware manufacturers have turned to increasingly complicated tracking technologies such as MPEG-4 and watermarking. The most recent addition to the anti-pirate bag of tricks: "fingerprinting."
On Tuesday, April 17, 2001, New York said farewell to John Lewis in a memorial ceremony at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Over 5000 New Yorkers from all walks of life attended, but the most visibly represented community was the musicians.
Is the consumer electronics business swimming, sinking, or simply treading water? It all depends on who's talking. Retailers don't appear to be suffering, despite widespread staffing cutbacks by large companies, but the gains are coming more slowly than they did last year.
Sam Tellig may apologize for contributing to the audiophile empty wallet syndrome, but that doesn't stop him from ranking the Monarchy Audio Digital Interface Processor 24/96 "a must-have if you want to get the most from your upsampling MSB Link DAC III."