It has been another tough week for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) as it continues to grapple with a waning CD market, and attempts to further rein in the forces of a brave new digital audio world. It didn't help that its website was heckled until it went offline, either.
Music fans are mourning the passing of swing era giant Lionel Hampton. The vibraphonist, band leader, and multi-instrumentalist died August 31 at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan of complications from age and a recent heart attack, according to his manager Phil Leshin. Hampton was 94.
All of us at Stereophile were saddened to learn of the death of mastering engineer Denny Purcell, whose body was found Thursday, August 22 in the offices of his Georgetown Masters studio in Nashville. He was 51.
Less than a week after launching major copyright-infringement litigation against several large Internet service providers (ISPs), member companies of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) abruptly withdrew their lawsuit because an offending offshore music site had even more abruptly gone dark.
Traditional music radio has been taking a beating since the mid '80s, when declining audience numbers entered a ratings freefall. Reader Bard-Alan Finlan argued in his Soapbox a few weeks back that perhaps digital radio could cure the market's over-the-air terrestrial broadcast ills, if only it were implemented with adequate bandwidth and marketed correctly.
It will probably be years before we can determine the actual effects that Napster and other online file-trading networks have had on the music business. Conflicting evidence suggests that swapping music either increases or reduces CD sales.
Sharp Electronics has come a long way from the household appliances and modest home entertainment products it has long been famous for. (The company's name derives from its first product, a retracting pencil.) Sharp is making a serious, prolonged push into upscale audio and video, as evidenced by the array of new models on display at a dealer and media conference held in late August at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines, a hotel/golf resort north of San Diego.
"I wouldn't characterize my life as 'a search for bigger and better toys,' but I am intrigued by interesting things—like the Impact Airfoil 5.2 loudspeaker system," says Brian Damkroger as he steels himself for another review. BD goes in search of an answer to the Airfoil dilemma: "big toy, new toy, neat toy, better toy?"
The fundamental object of the invention is to provide...the listener a realistic impression that the intelligence is being communicated to him over two acoustic paths in the same manner as he experiences in listening to everyday acoustic intercourse....—Blumlein, et al, British Patent #394,325, issued June 14, 1933
Questionable accounting practices were at the heart of the collapse of energy conglomerate Enron and telecommunications giant WorldCom. Apparently, they are also rampant in the music industry—or at least pervasive enough to command the attention of California state legislators, who have scheduled a second hearing to examine the situation.