Music fans who use their computers to organize their CD or MP3 music libraries have found the CDDB music database, now owned and operated by Gracenote (see previous story), to be an essential part of their audio world. If you use CDDB-enabled hardware or software, the artist, album title, genre, and track titles will automatically display when you put a CD or load an MP3 file into your computer or compliant player.
Last year's media darling may be this year's has-been. Napster, the music file-sharing service that shook the music industry's foundations, remains shut down after US District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel ruled that it cannot resume operations until it can prove that no copyrighted songs can slip through its filter. In a closed session on Wednesday, July 11, Patel ordered Napster to stay offline until she authorizes it to do otherwise.
If you work in the consumer electronics industry and would like to see your personal CE hero rewarded, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) would like to hear from you. The CEA announced last week that it is seeking nominations from its members, the press and other industry professionals for the 2002 class of inductees into the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame.
"Adapt or die" is the first law of economic Darwinism. It's a choice that many music retailers are beginning to face with the rising tide of alternative distribution channels. According to market research organization Jupiter Research, online music services will account for approximately 9% of all CDs sold this year, a 50% increase from 2000. Retailers, once the music industry's only sales interface with the buying public, are looking at what might be an increasingly marginalized future. Those who wish to stay in the game may become "affiliates" rather than independent distributors.
We have received an update from loudspeaker designer Paul Hales on the availability of replacement parts for Hales loudspeakers. In a previous interview, he had mentioned the availability of cabinet and crossover parts for his namesake products. Some of that information was in error, due to circumstances beyond his control, he explained in a recent email:
Electrostatic speakers are my passion. Why else have I put up with their high prices, unreliability, low power handling, tendency to arc, high-frequency beaming, limited bass response, and widely fluctuating impedances?
Brian Damkroger finds that, while struggling unsuccessfully to fit the Conrad-Johnson Premier 17LS line-stage preamplifier into his preconceived notions of the company and its products, a paradigm shift in his thinking occurred. Damkroger explains that "it was only during a marathon session of listening and comparing the C-J to a couple of other preamps that the truth dawned on me . . . I went back and forth between the C-J and the other units several times over the course of the next week, and one evening it hit me." The truth awaits.
On Monday, July 2, 2001, Primedia announced that it has agreed to acquire emap usa from Emap plc. This transaction, which will create the second largest magazine company in the United States, is currently under a customary regulatory review. It is expected to close during the third quarter of the calendar year.