Late July was a volatile period for the music industry. On the 29th, Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Middelhoff announced his resignation. The "young lion" who ushered the German media conglomerate into the Internet age—and into an ill-advised $100 million investment in now-forgotten Napster—apparently had a very different vision for the future of the company than does the Mohn family, which controls 75% of Bertelsmann stock. "Shareholders had mid- and long-term development prospects that were different from mine," Middelhoff told reporters. "In this context, I had no choice but to resign." Bertelsmann is parent company of BMG, the music giant.
In apparent response to proposed federal legislation that would permit copyright holders to launch technological strikes against privately-owned computers, hackers launched an attack of their own over the weekend of July 27–28, rendering the website of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) unusable.
Choice is generally considered a plus, but as many of our readers note, when it comes to audio, a format war is the last thing consumers need. While the DVD-A/SACD conflict takes the center audio stage, other technology battles are being fought off in the wings, including the satellite radio format tussle 'twixt XM and Sirius.
Chip Stern heads this week's list with an evaluation of the NAD C370 integrated amplifier from the January 2002 issue. With the units priced to sell, at $699, CS wants to know if the C370 can satisfy audiophiles as well as budget-conscious shoppers.
It's been, as Bette Davis might say, a bumpy ride, but Genesis says it is back as a designer and manufacturer of high-end loudspeakers. Formed in 1991, Genesis was originally partnered by Canadian loudspeaker conglomerate Audio Products International (Mirage, Energy, Sound Dynamics), until famed designers Arnie Nudell and Paul McGowan bought API out in 1994.
Many audiophiles eager to try their new high-resolution disc players have been disappointed to discover skimpy offerings of Super Audio CDs and DVD-A recordings at their local music marts. Fortunately, several online sources stock such discs, and are constantly updating their inventories.
Like most of the record business, classical music is having a tough time finding a new audience in the digital download world. And in line with the recent moves by record labels to market popular music online, classical music fans in the UK will soon have another bona fide incentive for locating and legally purchasing works via the Internet.
The war over digital copyright protection intensified in late July, when the American Civil Liberties Union launched a legal attack against the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Almost simultaneously, a congressman from Southern California introduced a bill that would give copyright holders the right to hack computers owned by suspected copyright violators.
We start our survey of small speakers with Robert J. Reina's review of the Paradigm Reference Studio/20 loudspeaker. "Impressive right out of the box" is how Reina charaterizes the two-way design, which gets an in-depth review and also a May 2002 followup from Robert Deutsch.
Satellite radio is poised to become a dominant force in the 21st century. Both XM Radio and Sirius Radio are now in full operation, with subscriptions booming and compatible electronics available at dealers nationwide.