Karmazin joins Sirius: The satellite radio service gained some serious traction in its recent acquisition of former Viacom, Inc. president Mel Karmazin. Just one month after signing "shock jock" Howard Stern to a multimillion-dollar contract, Sirius signed Karmazin to a five-year contract, bringing him in as its new chief executive officer. Joseph Clayton will relinquish the CEO title but remain chairman of the board. Karmazin departed Viacom in June and began discussions in earnest with Sirius after the satellite service landed Stern, in a move Karmazin described as "brilliant." Karmazin had previously dismissed the potential of satellite radio, but now believes it could be huge—larger, perhaps, than the growth he helped nurture at Infinity Broadcasting, which he took from a few stations to more than 200. Sirius stock rose more than 10% on the day Karmazin's contract was announced.
Credit-card amps: Miniaturization could change the look and feel of many audio products. On October 29, Austin, TX–based D2Audio announced its new line of MXS amplifiers, each only 1.5" tall with a footprint no bigger than a credit card. Intended for use with in-wall or on-wall loudspeakers, MXS amps can deliver up to 125Wpc into 8-ohm speakers or up to 250Wpc into 4-ohm speakers, with THD+N of <0.1% at full-rated power from 20Hz to 20kHz. Dynamic range is specified at "up to 145dB." The tiny digital amplifiers have programmable DSP features and 93% power efficiency, thereby eliminating the need for large heatsinks, and are said to sound as good or better than many traditional designs. Two-channel modules can also be used for bi-amping, according to the manufacturer.
You hear a dismaying amount of bad sound on the Audio Engineering Society (AES) convention floor. Tizzy high frequencies and mushy bass are more common than not, but encouragingly, good-sounding products tend to draw small crowds or generate a buzz among attendees.
Industry observers have long debated the ultimate fate of satellite broadcaster Sirius Radio. Front-runner XM Radio, with more than two million subscribers, is already above the break-even point, but for many months Sirius struggled against technical problems and overwhelming debt. Would the fledgling survive, get devoured by its larger competitor, or worse, get picked up in a fire sale by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.?
Skyrocketing ticket prices kept summer concertgoers away in droves, according to reports in the entertainment industry and financial press in mid-October. The summer 2004 concert season was one of the slowest ever, with some superstars canceling shows and others moving planned arena or amphitheater events into smaller venues. Previously one of the summer's most popular events, the Lollapalooza tour was cancelled due to slow ticket sales.
The entertainment industry is going the last mile in its war against file sharing. On Friday, October 8, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) appealed to the US Supreme Court to overturn a lower court's ruling earlier this year that peer-to-peer (P2P) file-trading networks can't be held liable for copyright infringement.