Hot on the heels of a favorable RIAA/Rio decision (see related story), five of the pioneers in the rapidly expanding market for downloadable music---GoodNoise Corp., MP3.com, MusicMatch, Xing Technology Corp., and Diamond Multimedia Systems, Inc.---announced the formation of the MP3 Association, an industry trade group focused on the "continued evolution and adoption of the MP3 (MPEG 1 or 2, Layer 3) standard." The Association will focus on three primary goals: promoting MP3 technology as the next-generation digital music format, educating consumers about MP3 and its legal use, and opening new creative avenues for musicians and developers.
Petersen's HI-FI Show management announced October 22 that The Academy Advancing High Performance Audio and Video will be sponsoring Trade Days at HI-FI '99, The Home Theater and Specialty Audio Show, taking place at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago from May 11 to May 13, 1999. This marks the fourth consecutive year that The Academy has sponsored Trade Days at the HI-FI Shows. Show management and The Academy also announced today that the Music and Film Seminar Series will be expanded in 1999 to a two-track educational program. Each track will consist of the five disciplines showcased at the Seminar Series in 1998: Sales Techniques, Digital Technologies, Room Acoustics, Video Technologies, and Multi-room Design and Installation.
When Petersen Publishing purchased Stereophile, Inc.'s assets on June 1 of this year (see previous story,) previous co-owners Larry Archibald and John Atkinson remained with the magazine. Whereas JA's responsibilities as Stereophile editor have remained the same as they had been, Larry Archibald's position changed considerably. He retained his masthead title of publisher (with the December issue it changes to "publisher emeritus"), but in reality, Larry has been more like "magazine spokesman and general factotum" since the purchase.
Last Friday, October 23, Garden City, NY---based CDKnet announced that Atlantic Recording Corporation had signed a licensing agreement to use the company’s CDT technology for enhancing the content of its music CDs. CDKnet’s audio and video streaming technology embeds links on music CDs to sites on the World Wide Web, such as Atlantic’s own Metrotainment site. The first musical release under this agreement will be "A Random Act of Senseless Kindness," a single by South SixtyFive, a new group on the Atlantic label.
The development of digital AM-radio technology moved a step closer last month when the Fraunhofer Institut Integrierte Schaltungen) (IIS) signed a consortium agreement for the development of digital AM radio with several international radio broadcasters, network operators, and manufacturers.
Last week, USA Digital Radio, a partnership formed in 1991 with CBS Corporation and Gannett Co. Inc., announced the filing of a Petition for Rulemaking with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seeking to permit digital radio broadcasting using In-Band On-Channel (IBOC) technology. The petition begins the process of acceptance of the USA Digital Radio IBOC system as the DAB transmission standard for the United States. According to a statement from Digital Radio, "the IBOC technology being developed by USA Digital Radio offers the most comprehensive digital radio transmission solution in history, and represents the most exciting change in broadcasting since radio's invention over 70 years ago."
An audio system even Nero could love: Pyrotechnical effects have apparently gotten slightly out of control with Philips Consumer Electronics MX920 speaker systems, 25,500 of which have been recalled due to fire hazards from overheating voice coils. Four such incidents have been reported since the MX920 went on sale in June 1997. No one has been injured, and property damage has been limited to one scorched rug.
HDCD and Pacific Microsonics appear to be on a roll these days. The HDCD process, developed to coerce 20-bit performance out of the 16-bit CD format, is gaining several new licensees and is also appearing in more devices, as evidenced by several recent announcements. The company is also looking ahead to future DVD formats with an agreement intended to couple HDCD benefits with higher sampling rates.
For years, credit cards have allowed people to earn points toward air travel and automobiles, so earning credits for audio and video gear seems a no-brainer. Last week, Sony Electronics and Citibank launched the Sony Citibank Card, a co-branded credit card that allows consumers to earn points toward the purchase of a variety of Sony entertainment and merchandise.
On August 25 and 26, John Atkinson and Wes Phillips were in Salina, Kansas. They were recording what will be Stereophile's first jazz album, at the deconsecrated downtown church Chad Kassem of Acoustic Sounds has transformed into Blue Heaven Studios. The band, led by acoustic bass guitarist Jerome Harris, featured alto saxophonist Marty Ehrlich, trombonist Art Baron, vibraphonist Steve Nelson, and percussionist Billy Drummond. Over the two days, the quintet recorded a striking set of original compositions by Harris, as well as a superb tribute to Duke Ellington in one of the great bandleader's signature tunes, "The Mooche."