Corporate consolidation has been likened to gravity: an inexorable, hard-to-resist force of nature always lurking in the background. D&M Holdings, parent company of Denon and Marantz Japan, has clearly felt its effects, announcing last week its latest acquisition: McIntosh Laboratory.
Threshold Corporation, long known as one of the original high-end audio equipment pioneers, is discussing plans to restructure the company to meet new market conditions. Threshold, based in Camarillo, California, manufactures high-end audio amplifiers, preamplifiers, and digital products under the Threshold, FortT, and PS Audio product lines. (PS Audio, of which Threshold Corp. is the majority owner, is currently a separate corporation.)
Music buyers will find a new report issued by Parks Associates both interesting and disturbing. Interesting in what it purports to reveal about consumers, and, as we shall see, disturbing in how the music industry is being urged to interpret the data.
At one time the music industry was known as a cultural force. It could excite the public and change the course of history, even prodding some governments to attempt censorship. These days, the record labels themselves are acting more and more like a police force, looking for ways to restrict and control how music consumers behave.
The music industry's worst nightmare is coming true: feeble attempts to shackle compact discs with "protection" are falling prey to simple felt pen hacks. And it's too late to build use-restriction and tracking technologies directly into CD players and existing computer CD drives.
After more than ten years in development, Sirius Satellite Radio announced last week that it will be officially launching its service with two events in Jackson, Mississippi beginning February 13. Sirius' competitor XM Satellite radio was able to get its service up and running last September.
While bunches 'o companies were hopping on the USB DAC bandwagon, Weiss quietly goes their own way, focusing on getting the audio out of your computer via FireWire. The company also sells professional audio equipment.
Embattled audio brand TAG McLaren Audio is showing more signs of life since hitting the ropes earlier this summer. After completing "a full strategic review of its participation in the audio market," the company had announced a re-focused effort to continue.
It would seem almost reasonable to imagine that your next stereo receiver or preamp could have an "intel inside" sticker on the front. Last week, software company Be made several announcements that it hopes will not only bring such a future to consumers, but also place itself at the center of the Internet-connected home-entertainment equipment market.
Last week, Napster announced that it had reached a preliminary agreement with US songwriters and music publishers to settle a class action lawsuit currently pending in federal court in California. The beleaguered company says the agreement includes terms under which the songwriters and music publishers will license their music to Napster's new membership-based service.