My wife's cousin Steve used to sell antiques. Whenever he would display in his shop's window an impeccable (and expensive) item such as a Colonial pie safe, someone would inevitably walk into the shop and demand to know its price. He'd quote a staggering figure, and the browser would get excited. "Why, I have a piece at home exactly the same as that one! Do you think I could get that sort of money for it?" Steve, having learned his lesson the hard way, would be noncommittal.
Back in my bass-player days in the 1970s, I used to do a regular cabaret gig, providing musical support for sundry British stand-up comic acts. I flashed back on those days when I recently watched Fierce Creatures, the John Cleese/Jamie Lee Curtis/Kevin Kline/Michael Palin vehicle, on satellite. There, playing the part of a zookeeper, was pint-size comedian Ronnie Corbett, whom I backed a few times. (He always bought the band a bottle of Scotch—you remember stuff like that!) Ronnie used to open his act with the old "They said Thomas Edison was crazy...they said Henry Ford was crazy...they said Albert Einstein was crazy..." gag, which ends with "They said my Uncle Charlie was crazy...actually, my Uncle Charlie was crazy!"
Questions for music lovers: 1) Have you been racking your brain trying to remember who recorded Ruby Vroom? 2) Do you know how many Tim Hardin recordings are available on CD? 3) Which album featured Head East's "Never Been Any Reason," considered by some connoisseurs the greatest rock song ever?
Is it merely the tip of the iceberg, or a temporary diversion? Hard to say just yet, but a recent report from the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association (CEMA) suggests that increasing numbers of folks are using their PCs in place of, or in addition to, regular audio systems.
On April 15, ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), the music performing-rights organization, and Liquid Audio, a developer of secure online music delivery systems, announced a strategic alliance to protect ownership of music on the Internet. According to a Liquid Audio press release, the initiative encourages, streamlines, and simplifies music-rights licensing and reporting, and will benefit website creators as well as music writers, publishers, and composers.
Everyone claims "CD-quality" sound over the Internet these days, but the reality always seems far short of that promise. As a result, work continues to develop an encoding scheme worthy of the CD-quality title. Recently we reported on developments at AT&T regarding the a2b format, and both Liquid Audio and RealNetworks compete on a weekly basis to grab headlines for their audio technology announcements.
One billion dollars in 1997---thatÆs the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association's first-ever estimate of the high-end industry's factory-sales volume. The number could be as high as $1.4 billion, according to a CEMA projection for the entire industry based on sales data of a representative sample of 32 companies. The results of the survey were published March 23 on CEMA's website.
PARA, the Professional Audio-Video Retailers Association, is bringing its annual management conference to the Hyatt Regency in Hilton Head, South Carolina, this week. The five-day event, running April 22-27, will focus on improving retail strategies. Representatives from more than 600 retailers, suppliers, and industry publications are expected.