The music industry is facing its toughest business climate in recent memory, and slow sales are hurting not only the record labels, but music retailers as well. In the face of continuing sales declines, store closings, mergers and consolidations, layoffs, and seemingly intractable digital distribution issues, the industry came together last month for its annual National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) convention and trade show in Orlando, FL.
On April 8, Recoton Corporation voluntarily revealed that it and all of its US-based subsidiaries filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.
A month after news of Apple Computer's start-up subscription music service, reports began circulating that the company was negotiating to buy Universal Music Group, the dominant player in the global music market. The rumored buyout, first reported April 10, was variously quoted at $5–6 billion. The discussions between Apple and UMG may have been blown out of proportion; by April 12 the New York Times was suggesting that Apple might invest in UMG, but was in no position to make an outright acquisition.
Stereophile was saddened to learn of the death of Herb Papier earlier this month. He was 86. A musician—he was an amateur trumpeter—music lover, and inventor, Papier was best known in the audiophile community as the designer and original manufacturer of the Wheaton Tri-Planar tonearm.
How did Michael Jordan, talented as he was at the peak of his powers, always manage to impose his will on his teammates to push them to victory when it counted most? What made Sandy Koufax able to elevate his pitching to a superhuman level when the stakes were highest? A knowledgeable, hardcore sports fan can watch the performance of two players with nearly identical statistics and, after not too long, tell you which one is merely very good and which one is great. What makes a star are intangibles—those qualities you can't quantify or analyze, but can't help but recognize when you're in their presence.
We were having trouble with the power in our home—the wall current, I mean, not the dynamics of our marriage—so I called the local utility. While the technician was here, he let me watch what he was doing. I had a chance to look inside our meter box, which is the junction between the utility's power lines and the circuit-breaker box in the cellar.
It was 20 years ago today that Sgt. Michaelson taught the band to play. I was living in London when Antony Michaelson launched Musical Fidelity in an attempt to make a major statement in the area of affordable, high-quality, high-value electronics. Other Brits at the time were doing the same—companies such as Creek, A&R Cambridge (now Arcam), and DNM began to compete for the destitute audiophile's dollar.