Both SACD and DVD-Audio have been slow finding their way into higher-end players. Sony dominates the market for SACD, and the other major consumer electronics manufacturers are trickling out DVD-A and universal players. The few exceptions include SACD machines from Classé and Accuphase. Soon to be added to the list: Linn.
The record companies have declared war on their customers when it comes to the fair use rights of purchased music, and it would appear that they want the government to enlist in their crusade. Previous weeks have seen South Carolina senator Ernest Hollings propose draconian copyright legislation as well as recent pro-Hollywood remarks from California's senator Diane Feinstein.
Chad Kassem is a true audio renaissance man. For years he has headed Acoustic Sounds, supplier of select recorded musical treasures from a variety of audiophile and specialty labels. Kassem also has his own label, Analogue Productions, which produces reissues, revivals, and a series of original recordings under the label APO Records.
According to a recent report from Arbitron and Edison Media Research (EMR), approximately nine million consumers who have ever listened to Internet audio said they would be willing to pay a small fee to listen to the one audio channel they listen to most online.
If you find yourself spending more time in a car seat than in your audio system's sweet spot each day, the trend pairing high-end audio companies with car manufacturers may offer a little relief. Lexus made a big splash last year by incorporating Mark Levinson technology into its latest cars, joining collaborations between Dynaudio and Volvo among others.
At its January CES presentation, Sony announced that this is the year that SACD will roll out big time to the masses. News from EMI/Capitol and Silverline Records would suggest that DVD-Audio may not be far behind, at least as far as available software is concerned.
In the record industry's ongoing battle against its customers, score one for the consumer. Amid recent industry rumors that Universal Music Group has retreated from its position of adding restrictions to all of its new CDs, a lawsuit over a Charley Pride release has been settled in California, paving the way to alert the public to playback restrictions on discs.
Music publishing organizations such as ASCAP and BMI have long worked out licensing deals with radio broadcasters, who pay royalties in exchange for playing music over the air. A US Copyright Office panel is now suggesting that online broadcasters also pay royalties, this time directly to the record labels, in a recommendation that has so far left all parties unhappy, particularly broadcasters.
Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you. This is especially true for music lovers who have begun to fear that record companies purposely corrupt the data on audio CDs in an effort to restrict their use as a source for copies or MP3 files.
It's a brave group of souls who run today's audiophile music labels. Sane business minds would likely deem it foolhardy to start a new specialty label these days, but sometimes one's passion for music overrides the rational impulse to try something a little bit more secure (like perhaps an Internet company?).