The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) may issue a general amnesty to the music fans who have amassed libraries of favorite tunes by downloading them over the Internet, according to information leaked to Billboard, the Hollywood Reporter, and other publications the first week of September.
Some products inspire unwavering loyalty among their owners: Gibson's "Les Paul" Guitars, for example, or Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Only a handful of audio manufacturers have been lucky enough for their products to attain this kind of cult status. McIntosh is perhaps premier among them. Individual products---Audio Research preamps, Marantz tuners, Linn turntables---also have deservedly loyal and sizable followings.
Recently, Analog Devices announced the worldÆs first High Definition Compatible Digital (HDCD) decoder chip with 32-bit internal precision. The ADSP-21061 SHARC programmable digital signal processor will enable HDCD decoding to be incorporated into a wide variety of consumer audio and home-theater products, according to an AD press release dated March 26. The SHARC DSP can perform up to 150 million operations per second, and includes one megabit of onboard memory, six DMA channels, and two serial ports. The highly integrated decoder is claimed to perform HDCD decoding without external memory.
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.
Better late than never. America Online has finally leaped into the Internet music business with its recent purchase of San Francisco-based Spinner Networks, and Nullsoft of Sedona, Arizona. The combined deals, which were announced on June 1, cost AOL $400 million in company stock.
Owners of Apogee Acoustics loudspeakers are apparently being left to twist in the wind by a/d/s/, the company that took over Apogee and subsequently shut it down (other than to apply the brand to a range of switch-mode power amplification modules). Service will no longer be available for the ribbon speakers, according to Apogee owner Matt Carnicelli.
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.
A move by RealNetworks to cut the umbilical cord between Apple's iPod and the company's iTunes Music Store has raised the ire of some execs in Cupertino. The computer pioneer is threatening legal and technical retaliation against its Seattle rival in the wake of a late July launch of a digital music technology called Harmony that enables the iPod to work with downloads from RealNetworks' music store.