Former PolyGram Music Group president Roger Ames has been named to head the Warner Music Group, parent company Time Warner announced August 16. Warner's music division, formerly the top domestic money-earner, has been stagnant in the past few years. Still one of the top five music conglomerates, it now trails Seagram's Universal Music, Bertelsmann AG, and Sony Music in total business, but retains the #2 spot in total number of albums sold, according to the Wall Street Journal. Warner's foreign business is far weaker.
Ultra-high-resolution audio formats like the Super Audio Compact Disc and DVD-Audio are just around the corner, but music lovers' CD collections will never be obsolete if companies like dCS have anything to do with it. The British electronics company, noted for its high-quality D/A converters, has introduced a 24-bit/192Hz upconverter that is claimed to elevate the performance of ordinary 16/44.1 CD to near DVD-Audio level.
Last week Microsoft entered the Internet audio fray by announcing the release of their Windows Media Technologies 4 platform, which the company claims introduces a "new standard for CD-quality audio" on the Internet. Windows Media includes Windows Media Player, Windows Media Services, Windows Media Tools, and Windows Media Audio SDK.
It's no secret that audio publications around the world have been shrinking or disappearing of late. John Atkinson writes in his September 1999 "As We See It" that although the trend has certainly affected Stereophile's girth, steps have been taken to fatten the audiophile content of every issue. Read his analysis of the situation in "Closer Together Covers?"
DUKE ELLINGTON: The Centennial Edition: The Complete RCA Victor Recordings Duke Ellington, piano; and his bands, 1927-73 RCA Victor 63386-2 (24 CDs). 1999. Orrin Keepnews, coordinating prod.; Keepnews, Steven Lasker, reissue prods.; Steve Backer, exec. prod.; Lasker, Dennis Ferrante, digital transfer engs.; Lasker, Paul Brizzi, CEDAR restoration engs. AAD? TT: 27:33:35 Performance ***** Sonics ****
While all of the attention was on SDMI and watermarking earlier this month, Diamond Multimedia, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies (AARC) quietly announced the settlement of all pending litigation related to Diamond's Rio portable Internet music player. (See previous story.) All three parties say they have dismissed their legal actions, and have announced the mutually satisfactory resolution of outstanding legal issues.
Last week, GlobalNet Systems announced that violinist Itzhak Perlman has joined its subsidiary On-Line Entertainment Network as consultant and advisory boardmember. The company says that Mr. Perlman will consult on its acquisition and production of live classical-music events and the licensing of master catalogs of recorded classical music. He also joins an advisory board that will advise on future trends and opportunities for the company. The company intends to add other major artists to its advisory board in coming months.
Wes Phillips explains that Adcom is one of those companies that is easy to take for granted. "To break through our complacency, Adcom would have to produce an outright unlistenable turkey—or a product that raised the bar so high that any audio manufacturer would get a hernia just thinking about raising it again."
The Internet offers unprecedented opportunity for manufacturers to bring their products directly to their markets, but many companies have been reluctant to embrace it for fear of upsetting their established dealer networks. This has been especially true of mid-to-high-end audio companies, who have traditionally sold their wares through specialty shops.