Savvy music fans willing to ignore the built-in copying restrictions on consumer-targeted CD recorders have always had their computer-based CD and DVD recorders and hard drives to play with, especially when it comes to manipulating MP3 files. Maybe not for much longer. A new content-protection approach is attempting to tighten the digital noose around the necks of PC users who have spent the last few years virtually unencumbered when it comes to—as Apple so succinctly puts it—rip, mix, burn.
Last week, the US Secret Service reported that, assisted by the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) New York Anti-Piracy Unit, it had executed two search and seizure warrants in Queens and Manhattan, resulting in what the agency called "the break-up of a massive counterfeit music operation." The Secret Service reported that approximately 20,000 recorded CD-Rs and 1200 masters were seized from the Queens and Manhattan locations.
There are a variety of ways to empty a large bucket of water: The entire contents can be quickly dumped in a dramatic rush, or a small hole can be punched in the bottom, allowing a smaller but continual flow over an extended period of time. Digital data can be seen as the water in the DVD "bucket," with 24/192 multi-channel sound being the equivalent of a big audio splash.
One of the dirty little secrets of the recording business is that some of its most precious assets are slowly self-destructing. In one example, a popular mastering tape supplied by Ampex to recording studios during the '70s and early '80s has been found to prematurely shed its oxide coating at an alarming rate due to poor quality control of the binding agents that hold the magnetic particles to the Mylar.
Who says classical music is having trouble finding a contemporary audience? According to the latest Arbitron webcast ratings, for December, 2000, classical music and internet-only webcaster Beethoven.com ranked number one with the most aggregate tuning hours (ATH) for the month. ATH describes the sum total of all hours that listeners tune to a given channel.
If you've visited this website before, you'll notice that we're sporting a new look this week. You'll also find that, in addition to the new sheet metal and colors, there are also plenty of changes under the hood. The Stereophile site was originally launched on December 1, 1997. The old model lasted over three years, but three years is an eternity in Internet time, and we couldn't resist taking all of the comments readers have sent in over the months and sorting through them for fresh ideas.
Last week, Philips Electronics and Marantz Japan jointly announced that Marantz Japan intends to buy the Marantz trademark, as well as the European and American sales organizations, from Philips. The companies say that the transaction is due to take effect in the coming months. In addition, Philips says it intends to sell shares equal to 1.5% of all shares held in Marantz Japan, effectively reducing its ownership percentage from 50.5% to 49%.
Although it sounds like a disease resulting from poor dental hygiene, Bluetooth is a recently established wireless standard aimed at small-form–factor, low-cost, short-range radio links between mobile PCs, mobile phones, and other electronic devices such as speaker systems. Although there were a few bumps in the road as the standard became established, Cahners In-Stat Group predicts that 1.4 billion Bluetooth-based devices will be shipping annually by 2005.
Napster has been taking its share of hits this past week from the music industry and the RIAA as a result of the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling last Monday that will likely pave the way for shutting down the file-sharing service. In its findings, the Court states that "Napster users who upload file names to the search index for others to copy violate plaintiffs' distribution rights. Napster users who download files containing copyrighted music violate plaintiffs' reproduction rights."
Listening to and evaluating audio products in the CES trade-show environment is usually an utterly useless exercise. But every once in a while, a demonstration will clearly prove an exhibitor's point. PS Audio was able to do this with a convincing introduction to their Power Plant a couple of years back, as was Ray Kimber with his DiAural technology. This year, the "proof of concept in a hotel room" award would likely go to a new Australian upstart, ClarityEQ.