Last week, CDDB announced a newly designed, more user-friendly website for its large database of audio CD information. The database resource now provides free information on more than 360,000 CDs, which the company describes as the world's largest online CD music database. There are over 40,000 entries in the classical CD database alone, with rock logging three times as many entries at 126,000. The database gains about 500 new entries every day. Users can search by artist, album, or song title, and then cross-reference titles to other artists or discs.
Reuters has reported that Sony Corporation is experiencing a 20% drop in profits this year, brought about by poor showings from audio and video product sales, slow markets, price wars, and a lack of hit records. The report also stated that the electronics sector, which normally generates the bulk of Sony sales, saw operating profits decline by more than half compared to the previous year.
In the latest article to appear in the Archives, Robert Harley comes right out and asks, "How many of you actually read the 'Measurements' sections of Stereophile's equipment reports and understand what's being measured, and why? I suspect that many readers skip over the technical assessment of the reviewed product and make a dash for the 'Conclusion.' "
The night after we got home from the 1999 Consumer Electronics Show in January—see the report in this issue—my dear companion and I attended a performance of Madama Butterfly at San Francisco's beautifully refurbished War Memorial Opera House. It was a Tuesday evening, traditionally a big event for the Opera's benefactors. From our box seats, we had an excellent view of a production musically sumptuous and visually austere—and of a sea of gray and balding heads.
Last Month, music labels, distributors, and retailers met in Las Vegas for the 41st annual National Association of Recording Merchandisers convention to wrestle with several new issues wrought by the digital age. NARM Chairperson Rachelle Friedman set the tone for the event when she stated in the keynote address that "for the music industry, the 21st century and the impact of the Internet have already thrust themselves upon us."
Every week we get an e-mail or two from online readers begging for a state-of-the-art set of searchable weblinks on the Stereophile website. Starting this week, your e-prayers have been answered. The Stereophile website now sports one of the Internet's most comprehensive set of qualified audio and video links---as of last count, they number more than 2500. The database is searchable in a variety of ways, and also groups similar categories.
Toronto-based Lenbrook Group announced earlier this month that it had acquired NAD Electronics from AudioNord International, a Scandinavian organization that has owned the brand for most of this decade. The deal is expected to close next week, on May 3. Lenbrook will take over NAD's worldwide marketing and distributorship, but AudioNord will continue to market the brand in Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, and Scandinavia. Other joint marketing ventures will follow, according to Lenbrook's public relations agent.
We posted an update on Peter Belt and his activities earlier in the month, but the saga began many moons ago. If you're curious about where it all began, or just need to know more, then J. Gordon Holt's "L'Affaire Belt" is for you. Stranger than fiction? Guaranteed.
The Grateful Dead were the most enduring and most worshipped of all the rock groups who originated in the San Francisco scene of the 1960s. The Dead spawned Deadheads, a global family of loyal followers, who lived for the communal high of Dead concerts, where recording by fans was encouraged by the band and its management. Deadheads continue to share recordings of those concerts through a vast network, including several websites. Until recently, at least two of the sites had been providing MP3 transmissions at no charge.
JOHN TAVENER: Eternity's Sunrise With: Song of the Angel, Petra: A Ritual Dream, Sappho: Lyrical Fragments, Funeral Canticle Patricia Rozario, Julia Gooding, sopranos; George Mosley, baritone; Andrew Manze, violin; Choir & Orchestra of the Academy of Ancient Music, Paul Goodwin Harmonia Mundi HMU 907231 (CD). 1998. Robina Young, prod.; Mike Hatch, eng. DDD. TT: 65:03 Performance **** Sonics ****