The Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) will soon move into Phase II of its evaluation of digital audio watermarking, following listening tests conducted in early July at Sony's Whitfield Street Studios in London and administered by Sony VP of engineering Malcolm Davidson. A soon-to-be-published report from Paul Jessop of the International Federation of Phonograph Industries reveals that the participants in the tests—almost all of them audio-industry professionals or journalists—averaged just slightly better than 50% in their abilities to detect the watermarks.
UPDATE: On Monday, February 9, Tower Records, Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the US Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware. Industry observers had predicted the move in the weeks leading up to the filing. MTS, Inc., as the company is officially known, listed "more than $100 million of assets and more than $100 million of debts in its filing," according to a report from Reuters news service. "MTS expects to emerge from Chapter 11 within 45 to 60 days. It plans to swap $110 million of senior debt for $30 million of new senior notes and an 85% equity stake. Existing equity holders would retain a 15% stake," the report continued.
Record producer and Stereophile contributor John Marks has informed us that classical violinist Arturo Delmoni has agreed to throw his considerable talent behind the Audio Charity Auction, organized in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attack that destroyed the World Trade Center and killed more than 6000 people.
In a decision delivered in late December, China's top court has elevated intellectual property theft from misdemeanor status to felony. The move may be a sea change for the giant Asian nation, where piracy has long been a way of life.
Only a few days remain until Christmas. Trees, tinsel, twinkling lights, and . . . tunes. It's the audiofool's most dreaded time of the year, when he once again suffers through his nine-thousandth experience of Bing Crosby crooning "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Sheer torture.
"Digital audio quality at analog prices." ThatÆs how Cirrus Logic's Crystal Semiconductor division introduced a chip that may bring a new level of audio performance to a much wider audience. On April 6, Crystal announced its CS4334, an 8-pin, small-outline D/A converter. The 24-bit CS4334 will support sampling rates of up to 96kHz, and is being marketed as a low-cost, high-quality solution for computer, automotive, and portable audio applications, as well as DVD systems and set-top converter boxes. Crystal claims the new chip is the industryÆs smallest delta-sigma DAC.
A group of researchers has claimed success at cracking four digital audio watermarking technologies presented in a challenge by the Secure Digital Music Initiative in September. The claim has been denied by David Leibowitz, chairman of Verance Corporation, creator of one of the challenged watermarks. SDMI has made no public statement on the claim, and has resolved to remain silent until all 447 submitted hacks are evaluated.
With the music industry in retreat from classical music, dozens of the nation’s symphony orchestras, opera and ballet companies have decided to bring their work directly to the people. On June 12, an association of 66 orchestras and opera groups signed an agreement with the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) that will let them put their music on the Internet, without interference or fee extraction by the recording business.