First, the bad news: Sales of stand-alone, two-channel audio products declined in the month of June by 1.8% to $164 million, according to recently published statistics from the Consumer Electronics Association.
Maybe it's because those Yanks are so contentious, but it appears that most of the initial CD copy-protection activity is taking place in Europe (see previous). Last week, Phoenix, AZ–based SunnComm announced that it has reached an agreement in principle with Sonopress of Germany for implementation of its MediaCloQ technology in manufacturing facilities located all over Europe.
Success can be a two-edged sword. With the Virgo (reviewed in September 1995), Audio Physic created a $5000/pair benchmark product at the midpoint of the company's speaker lineup. While an upgraded, $5800 Virgo is due out soon, the original version will remain in production, its price dropping to $4495/pair—less than it cost six years ago.
Last week, InterTrust Technologies, which creates Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology, and format developer DataPlay announced a partnership intended to create a portable media distribution platform for protected content such as music. Universal Music Group, EMI Recorded Music, and BMG Entertainment have all announced that they are planning to release prerecorded music on the resultant DataPlay digital format for use in a variety of consumer electronic devices.
When does cooperation become collusion? When does collusion become anti-competitive? Investigators at the US Justice Department have begun asking such questions in regard to plans by major music labels to make their wares available on the Internet.
The Music Online Competition Act (MOCA) has won the imprimatur of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), according to an announcement made August 8. The recently-introduced bipartisan bill crafted by Congressmen Chris Cannon (R-Utah) and Rick Boucher (D-Virginia) intends to insure competition in the delivery of online music—and to preserve music lovers' rights to copy their own recordings for private use.
While Napster was thriving a few short months ago, the music business was noisily seething and quietly plotting. How could they put the digital audio genie back into the content-control bottle? Although Napster has since been gutted, the labels have identified the unprotected CD as the source of their woes, and now it's payback time.
As Larry Greenhill states in his review of the MartinLogan Prodigy loudspeaker, "Electrostatic speakers are my passion." But Greenhill's heard a lot of great 'stats in his time, so he was "both excited and uneasy" when a review pair of MartinLogan's latest arrived in his listening room. He needn't have worried.