Have you ever thought about starting up or working for an audiophile-oriented business?

The recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and T.H.E. Show exhibits at Las Vegas' Alexis Villas and St. Tropez hotels reminded us once again that many audiophiles turn their passion into a business. Have you ever thought about starting up or working for an audiophile-oriented business?

Have you ever thought about starting up or working for an audiophile-oriented business?
Yes, I already do
9% (10 votes)
Yes, I am planning to
8% (9 votes)
Yes, but I'm just dreaming
64% (73 votes)
Not really interested
7% (8 votes)
Not even remotely interested
12% (14 votes)
Total votes: 114

Gary Chernay's picture

Yes but, the wife likes the security of the I.T. job I am trapped in.

Paul J.  Stiles, Mtn.  View, CA's picture

Working for a manufacturer or a dealer might be fun. A weekend part-time job for a dealer would definately be a cool way of keeping up on new advances and what is available, not to mention a few bucks to buy some stuff with.

DAB, Pacific Palisades, CA's picture

I've been in the business for the past 24 years. It's not only an excellent living, but when you can get up in the morning and look forward to going to work, you know that you're truly blessed.

Donald N.'s picture

I would love to review, sell, market, smell, and live and breathe an audiophile-oriented/music-oriented business.

Steve Silberman's picture

Involve yourself in a vocation that answers a deep meaning.

Al Earz's picture

Really thought about buying a store that wanted to sell. Had an investor that was willing, but I got cold feet when I thought about having shelves of outdated equipment. And dealing with customers that expect more service than value.

robert elliott's picture

I've spent the last 30 years working for a major food company. I wish I would have been involved in audio, since it is one of my passions. Is it too late to start over at 53?

Tuna's picture

I have, over the years, thought that working in an audio shop would be fun, but I doubt if I could look a customer in the eyes and try to sell him some of the snake oil and voodoo products that pass for hi-fi paraphernalia. There is way too much of this along with the over priced gear.

Stephen Curling's picture

I wanted to design and build loudspeaker systems for a living. I do work in the CE industry but not at the top.

JML's picture

There was a time when this was probably a good industry to be involved in; however, in its current form, it would be more lucrative to work at Taco Belle.

FJC's picture

The market is diminishing and much too cut-throat, not helped by the number of different formats and releases of poor quality music.

macksman's picture

Oh, please no, not that. Just yank out my nails but p-please don't let me try and make a living from a hobby. After 20 years, I advanced in another hobby to raising beautiful discus and exotic rift valley minnows. When I tried selling them, the troubles ruined the fun. I promise to not ruin skydiving or audiophilia in the same way. Ever!

Gerald Neily's picture

Listening to music is all about enjoyment. For me, nothing could quash that more thoroughly than turning it into a business.

Al Marcy's picture

Gigolo, maybe—but even I have my limits. ;)

Jim S.  Place Grand Island NY's picture

I was hot on that idea back in the 1970s. I had a couple of national manufacturers interested in providing equipment on consignment and some of the regional manufacturers were willing to loan equipment to me. That was a long time ago when it was strictly an analog world. Today's products are complex, the choices are staggering and the technology is ever- changing. I'd need a small fortune for start-up expenses and a complete re-education!

JWC's picture

As a graduate student, one often has dreams and delusions of quitting and completely changing the direction of one's career. (Not to mention the fact that graduate students make less than gas sattion attendants.) Although science is a passion of mine, if I had to backtrack 8 years and choose a secondary path for my life, an audiophile-oriented profession would surely satisfy my other passion in life: great music. Alas, that is not the direction life has taken me, but the love of music offers comfort whatever my profession happens to be and will ensure happiness when I return home.

Craig's picture

With the way musical tastes are trending these days, unless you are in one of the cities like New York or Chicago that still has a customer base interested in and willing to pay for high-end sound, your chances of being part of a money making high end "audiophile-oriented business" with staying power is about nil. Too bad, but that is the truth.

Dimitris Gogas's picture

It's great when your job is your hobby and vice versa. Unfortunately for most of us such a situation is far from reality. Still, it really is a pleasurable hobby.

audio-sleuth@comcast.net's picture

This business needs more dealers who aren't PARA-lizied and can only sell flatscreen TVs. How's that working out profit-wise for them? It's still all about the music.

David L.  Wyatt jr.'s picture

I have always thought it would be fun entertaining and enjoyable to spend my life listening to equipment I could neve afford, helping people discover sonic nirvana in a way that inspires more people to seek the Truth. But then I remember the irregularity of commissions, the market pressures to "sell up" and the fact that I'd be stuck with one or two product lines to demo rather than the full richness of the market. So for the moment at least, I shall remain an electrician.

Allen's picture

Yes, I am planning to in the medium term—in about five years or so. I am slightly worried it will take my passion away from the hobby, though!

Travis Klersy's picture

I have dreamed from time to time of having my own small audio shop. I could see myself happily running a shop with two demo rooms, a lobby, and a couple of product lines I really like. It'll probably never happen, but it is the kind of shop I'd like to visit as a customer as well.

Glenn Bennett's picture

I started out as a hi-fi hobbyist in the late 1950s in the San Francisco bay area. The hobby was really starting to take off at that time. The dawn of stereo records, stereo fm, stereo tape, and stereo components! I wanted to work for one of the bay area dealers so bad—Cal Hi-Fi, anyone remember them? Of course, they bit the dust as did Pacific Stereo, Federated, the indies, and now The Good Guys are gone. Where would I be? Would I have made any money? Any pension? Maybe I am a lot happier just because all these years it has been my main interest and activity and I never had to deal with it from 9 to 5. Of course it would have been more like 12 hour days, six days a week. I think I was very lucky to have taken another direction in employment, although I still think of all the fun it would have been.

nemesis's picture

The real angle on the hifi biz is to be a jake leg reviewer and get gear for free/accomodation for a good review like fremer (lower case intentional).

Cihangir G's picture

In fact, the answer is "Yes, I did." When I was student, I prepared a project for reliability of a specific loudspeaker system and got a top grade and in those days I was dreaming "I wish I had my own loudspeaker company." But after learning that so many manufacturers doing the same thing, seeing a Chinese company selling a pair of JM Lab Grande Utopia copy with a different name for $10,000 USD and knowing that soooo many people depending on iPods, it is not a dream of mine anymore.

Tony P., Washington, DC's picture

I've thought about selling audio gear part-time, but even as a part-time job, it just doesn't seem like it would have enough stability.

H.  Williams, Hollywood Hills's picture

In today's economy, one might aspire to starting a business; however, I believe that most Americans are thankful for a job that pays regular wages and, if lucky, provides health benefits.

anthony.statam.@pillsburylaw.c's picture

I'm really interested in the audio business, but I have absolutely no idea about how to start. Do you have any suggestions?

brent rainwater's picture

I have been thinking of it for years.

Gerald K.  Clifton's picture

Yes, but I'm just dreaming. This is not the time for mom and pop retail in general, much less for a specific business that caters to a demographic sector that has always been rare and is becoming rarer as we speak. A successful business must be able to service revolving and constantly recurring debt by consistently turning over inventory. Stretches of "dead" time are suicidal for any small business owner. The macroeconomical climate does not favor taking on such risks: about 300 trillion (conservative estimate -- nobody can really count that high) in US dollar-based credit swap derivatives are lurking out there, the various participants humping for 6–10% returns (leveraged through the chain of crazies known as the "carry trade")while waiting for the first loser to yell "fire." Add this macro-situation, the mother of us all, to the micro-mix of individuals tapped out on SUV's, home equity refinances, and the plastic we all use to satisfy our "audiophile" whims and you get a rather volatile mix that the system won't be able to handle, come the inevitable implosion. I wouldn't want to have to sell a couple-three $30,000 sound systems a month to keep afloat in this environment. Savvy e-tailers have a chance. Stake my economic life on owning or renting (or working for) a brick-and-mortar joint?? Uh-uh. Do y'all out there think London gold fixed this morning at $560+ 'cause lotsa folks wanna buy earrings? Hunker down, boys and girls, the big one's comin'.