With the proliferation of audio and video formats based on the 5.25" disc (CD, DVD-Audio, SACD, CD-R, CD-V, DVD, etc), buying a universal player that can decode anything thrown at it is many a consumer's Holy Grail. But to date, the vast majority of manufacturers (Pioneer being a notable exception) have been taking sides, choosing to exclude either SACD or DVD-Audio playback from their machines.
When is a music sample not a sample but an actual product? Are those 30-second audio snippets used at online music-retailer websites and in stores considered samples and therefore covered under fair use copyright laws? These are some of the questions that the National Association of Recording Merchandisers are asking the copyright office as another battle heats up between the record labels (represented by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)) and the music retailers (represented by NARM).
Which has more value in the 21st century: the constitutionally-guaranteed right to free speech or the music industry's right to protect its encryption technology? Princeton University professor Edward W. Felten intends to find out.
In his The Fifth Element #2, John Marks discusses in detail how to use common household items to render some audiophile magic. Marks explains, Aall you need is a very long piece of string, a tape measure, two bits of masking tape, a quantity of small self-adhesive removable note papers, and later, perhaps, a trip to the fabric store."
The first fiscal quarter was a slow one for major electronics retailers. Eden Prairie, MN–based Best Buy reported a 3.1% drop in comparable-store sales, attributing the slowdown to diminished demand for personal computers. That figure is for stores open a year or longer; Best Buy's total sales for the quarter rose 25% to $3.69 billion from $2.96 billion, thanks to 11 new stores and the addition of the Musicland Group of music stores, which Best Buy acquired earlier this year. Although demand for hardware such as digital cameras, DVD players, and high-definition television sets was "brisk," the market for music CDs lagged more than 6% from last year, company officials explained.
From the vantage point of a devout music lover, two-channel audio is more satisfying and more inclusive than ever these days. In terms of resolution, clarity, linearity, transparency, soundstaging, frequency extension, and sheer performance value, aspiring audiophiles have never had it so good.
One of the more interesting displays at Home Entertainment 2001 was a small booth belonging to West Hollywood, CA–based AIX Media Group, which was manned by company president Mark Waldrep. At the show, Waldrep discussed his work in creating DVD-Audio recordings with multiple perspectives, selectable by the listener via remote control.
According to a new comparison of online music business models and companies prepared by Red Herring Research, Napster simply cannot exist without the complete consent of the recording industry, and the company's recent attempts to appease the copyright infringement concerns of the industry have so far failed. The study also finds it highly unlikely that the company's peer-to-peer model will find success, given the history of its relationship with the recording industry, its declining membership, and impending competition from services like MusicNet and Duet.
In 1984, George Orwell's chilling tale of life in a totalitarian society, good citizens are expected to master the art of "doublethink," the ability to embrace two contradictory ideas at the same time. As evidenced by legal actions undertaken by their organization in late May, executives of the Recording Industry Association of America would make excellent role models in an Orwellian state.