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Jim Tavegia
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Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes
rmeyer52
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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

I feel no sorrow for the music industry at all. There was a time when you could pick up an album, listen to the whole things and think it was great. Those days are over. Now we have packaged products not artists for the most part. In addition the costs of making CD's has dropped dramatically yet most new releases are still $11.99 and up so RAP artists can buy big cars and call women "hoes".

I still purchase CD's but mostly jazz from the 60's and 50's. I can appreciate this music because of my high end system but even a high end system can rescue poor musicians like Britney Spears and Madonna.

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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

Cool. That's why BMG Music Service has weekly sales, finally CD prices down to earth!!! $5.99 each free shipping. Trying to sell CD's for $20 a pop is insane. they did themselves in by being greedy. Maybe those $10,000 Cd players will come down to mortal prices too. SACD players when does the EMMLABS get priced around $1500.? If less Cd's are sold, less players sold, less DAC's sold, trickle down.......

ohfourohnine
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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

What's that, Jim? You take a page from Carl's book and post a link here without any indication of your take on the material you posted. Is some imposter posting under Jim Tavegia's name?

RichM has it right. The problem is content, not piracy, and it is compounded by the fact that the slice the major producers took from the pie was way out of proportion to what they put in.

Absurd quote from the Rolling Stone article: -" That's when we went from music having real value in people's minds to music having no economic value, just emotional value." Music always has had real value in people's minds, and it always will. When this shakeup - and that's all it is - is over, the quality music and the musicians who write and perform it will still be there and so will those of us who pay to have it and hear it in one form or another. Priced a concert ticket lately? Let those who foisted off crap at exhorbitant profit margins fall by the wayside - and a good thing too.

bifcake
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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

The high end industry should take note from the music industry's woes. The exorbitant pricing, horrible sales people and snake oil components contribute to maintaining a very small niche market for the high end equipment manufacturers and dealers.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

Quite frankly, I don't give a crap about this issue either way. It is just another American business model screwed up by a bunch of money grubbing no-it-alls. They probably even have MBAs from good schools.

They need to create a Hollywood Walk of Shame and put all the folks at the top of the record industry and RIAA as the first poster children.

I have all the music I need here at the house already. If I hear of something interesting I may buy it, but my days of going over the Billboard Top 100 are long over.

I thought it was interesting to hear why the music industry failed by the very people who killed it. There isn't even going to be a funeral. Maybe all the 100 million IPod owners can pick a date and at midnight turn on their IPod screens and wave them over their heads as a salute to the death of the Music Industry. Kind of the equivilent of flicking your BIC.

ohfourohnine
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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

I can't tell from what you've said, Alex, what level you're looking at when you accuse the high end industry of exhorbitant pricing, horrible sales people, etc.

If you're talking about systems at $100,000 and up, of course you're looking at a small, very small niche market. Everyone in it knows that and is happy with it. I'm not in it. Can't afford it. So what? Others can. Good for them.

As for the high end overall, I've never seen a day when the sound quality available from basic systems from $1,000-$20,000 would even get close to what is available today. Below the stratosphere, the value available today is fantastic. Set a price level, and the folks on this forum will give you at least two or three choices of first rate stuff.

As for horrible sales people and snake oil products, I've never had problems. Go somewhere else if you don't get what you want.

Cheer up. The high end is alive and well and there are real bargains out there.

ohfourohnine
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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

Now there's the Jim we all know and love. Right On! I don't care if typing hurts your fingers, keep doing it.

RGibran
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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

Can the music industry sue it's way to profit?

Save TheStreams

RG

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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

Look at it from the side of the uninitiated consumer: the entry price into a hi-fi CD player is around $600 mark. Compare that to a an entry level consumer CD/DVD player at around $50 and it seems like an exorbitant amount of money to pay. Add to that an entry level $1500 integrated amp vs $300 consumer grade receiver with more features, $1000 speakers and now we're talking about a $3000 entry level system vs about $1000 for a consumer grade home theater setup. You can certainly make an argument that you can put together a sub $1000 system. That may be true, but it's not trivial and from a feature perspective, which is what an average consumer looks at, it's a net loss.

My point is that the high end hardware industry seems to be following the footsteps of the record companies and I believe the same fate awaits them. They're resisting the Internet based distribution model, dealers don't discount, so there's very little difference from one dealer to another. The "service" which everyone is so fond of talking about is limited at best, so the value to the consumer looking into high end audio is rather dubious.

Jeff Wong
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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

AlexO - An uninitiated consumer has to have the desire to become informed. Someone has to care about quality over convenience to clear the first hurdle. Even a budget high-end product will never be able to compete with the pricing of a mass market manufacturer that has long established factories where costs have been amortised, or some Far East place banging out slave labour-made players. A small niche company is not going to be able to get that $600 player down to the $50 price point. When I've done DIY, I can afford to replace a 55 cent op amp with a 6 dollar or 30 dollar one -- it's a small price for improved sound for a single unit. But, create 1000 or 10,000 units and you'd be lucky if you could afford to put the 55 cent piece in there. It's easy to see why a player might get priced at 600 dollars. Economies of scale will never allow a niche market product sell for what you seem to be asking at a certain quality level. You can only sell better sound to people who care and are willing to spend more than average.

bifcake
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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

Jeff,

I never suggested that a high end CD player price could compete with a $50 consumer player. However, I can see it able to compete at a $250 starting point. I can't see it competing at $600. I think you can talk a curious consumer into spending $250 for a "high end" cd player. I can't see $600 being a price of entry. I think that's too high. Just like $12-$15 is too high for a price of CD, driving the consumers to cheap, sometimes free MP3's, the price of high end entry is too high. Just as the record companies have scratched their heads, wondering what happened, so will high end manufacturers/dealers scratch their heads and wonder why it is that theirs is a small, perhaps shrinking market which fails to attract new blood.

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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

If I may interject, the NAD C525BEE - which I own - is a great player at $300. It might not be "high-end" for many people, but it certainly is for me. I just wanted to throw in my two cents and point out that $600 isn't necessarily the digital hi-fi point of entry.

Regards,

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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

I always have a lot of fun when I talk to my friends about hi-fi. A buddy of mine came over shortly after I bought the above-mentioned player. He commented that it was an awful lot of money to spend, especially since it could only hold one disc at a time. I said "Most high-end players are single-disc", and he thought that was backwards. Why should a single-disc player sell for more than a carousel?

I recently got a new Rega Brio. The past few times he's come over, we've done some listening. I don't expect him to be shelling out for gear anytime soon, but suffice it to say he no longer thinks I'm crazy.

martin_n
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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

Has anyone read this?
The conclusion (for me) was a little surprising where downloads are concerned http://www.unc.edu/~cigar/papers/FileSharing_March2004.pdf

rmeyer52
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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

I am in marketing and one of the most affluent markets is now coming to full force: babyboomers. They are reaching their peak income years, kids are leaving to be on their own and they have the disposable income to at least gain entry into hi-fi. I don't have the industry numbers but I can tell you that my local hi-fi dealer has been really busy with installations lately.

There is a bigger issue here; that is 5;1 vs. stereo sound. People are willing to spend the bucks on a surround sound system that makes wall vibrate but when it comes to hi-fi (stereo listening) there is very little desire to have a high end system to listen to classic rock which is still very popular. I entered the hi-fi market with a $5,000 investment which is peanuts compared to $40,000 cars nowadays. But I entered because I listen to Jazz and knew I was missing a lot.

The music industry is in decline because of several reasons: iTunes model, poor content, packaged products and productions over muscianship and money hungry labels that ignored consumer trends. I think there is a move towards hi-fi in the low end (i.e. Pioneer Elite, Kenwood) but on the high end (Arcam, Marantz, Rowland, Paradigm) I think that people are scared off thinking that they have to spend $20,000 for a decent system. The information out there is confusing to say the least and there is a belief that quality=price when it's what's between the ears that counts.

I continually tell people about how good my system sounds because it costs only $5K. But if I was only listening to Cream, Springsteen and the Eagles it would have been a waste of money.

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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

I'm right there with Eric, when I invited one of my friends over to listen to my new amp, the first thing he says is "that looks nice". Well, what about the sound? Most people my age (24) would rather spend $300 on a HTiB than invest in a quality hi-fi set-up. But its worth it to spend 5K on some subs for your '92 honda because it looks cool! Seems counterintuitive to me, I prefer to enjoy music.

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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes


Quote:
I can tell you that my local hi-fi dealer has been really busy with installations lately.

There is a bigger issue here; that is 5;1 vs. stereo sound. People are willing to spend the bucks on a surround sound system that makes wall vibrate but when it comes to hi-fi (stereo listening) there is very little desire to have a high end system to listen to classic rock which is still very popular.

If people want to spend a bucket of money on a 5.1 system, LET THEM!! If a system is designed properly you can use it for both. Trying to convince an average joe consumer that their 5.1 system isn't good enough for music will just confuse the issue (and the consumer). We will do more good advising the masses on how to configure a Hi-Fi setup that will handle both their movie and music needs.

bifcake
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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes


Quote:
I am in marketing and one of the most affluent markets is now coming to full force: babyboomers. They are reaching their peak income years, kids are leaving to be on their own and they have the disposable income to at least gain entry into hi-fi. I don't have the industry numbers but I can tell you that my local hi-fi dealer has been really busy with installations lately.

I think Baby Boomers' grandkids are leaving home now, never mind their children. Even with that, notice your demographic: You're trying to expand the hi-fi base by drawing 60 odd year olds into the fold. There's nothing fundamentally wrong about that except for the fact that they're the only ones you're drawing upon.


Quote:

There is a bigger issue here; that is 5;1 vs. stereo sound. People are willing to spend the bucks on a surround sound system that makes wall vibrate but when it comes to hi-fi (stereo listening) there is very little desire to have a high end system to listen to classic rock which is still very popular. I entered the hi-fi market with a $5,000 investment which is peanuts compared to $40,000 cars nowadays. But I entered because I listen to Jazz and knew I was missing a lot.

Let them enter at whatever price range they can and let them listen to whatever they want.


Quote:

The music industry is in decline because of several reasons: iTunes model, poor content, packaged products and productions over muscianship and money hungry labels that ignored consumer trends. I think there is a move towards hi-fi in the low end (i.e. Pioneer Elite, Kenwood) but on the high end (Arcam, Marantz, Rowland, Paradigm) I think that people are scared off thinking that they have to spend $20,000 for a decent system. The information out there is confusing to say the least and there is a belief that quality=price when it's what's between the ears that counts.

I continually tell people about how good my system sounds because it costs only $5K. But if I was only listening to Cream, Springsteen and the Eagles it would have been a waste of money.

This is precisely the issue. The music industry was putting out crap and then they wonder why their customer base abandons them. Ford said that you can have their model T cars any color you want as long as it's black. And now, you're telling people that you're trying to woe to spend thousands of dollars on a hi-fi system that they can only listen to Jazz. They want to listen to whatever they feel like listening to.

If I were Donald Trump and you were in my marketing department, I'd say: "YOU'RE FIRED!!!"

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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes


Quote:
I think Baby Boomers' grandkids are leaving home now, never mind their children.

A correction: Boomers were born from born between 1946 and 1964. They are now 43 to 61 years old.

These are the people in the peak of their earning power and exactly the group you want to attract if you sell a luxury product such as high end audio.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

Well, you see in my day, it was about features and benefits. You build a better mousetrap and they will beat a path to your door. Not in 2007. Ysterday it was about performance. Now we have exchanged quality for total convenience. We have used techonolgy against ourselves, getting more, but hearing less. Ah, but the salespeople tell us we like it that way.

Marketing today is:

A.) Vanity-If you own "X" your friends and others will think you are "somebody". How else can you explain the Hummer. This trend is about "you deserving it", not whether it is something you really need or want, until a sales person convinces you DO!

B.) Experience-Use product "Y" and you will be so personally fulfilled that you will be speechless. Your orgasms will be the best ever, your kids brighter, you wife the best looking oh the block, and it might even improve your car's gas mileage. I always wanted to fly around San Francisco on a giant ball just like in a pin ball game. At 59, that would be exhilerating for me. We drink a lot of Pepsi and I have never felt like that. I guess I need more fizz!

I am just too old, but I have avoided the Bose hype without too much effort. Maybe because the sound actually mattered, not what someone else thought about what I owned or wanted.

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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

I think it's a function of an advanced society. We have all the stuff we could possibly need and now, the sales people have to work really hard to sell us shit we don't need or want. How do you do it? You put whatever spin on the same old. Try to sell the same product over and over again using different packaging.

ohfourohnine
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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

Alex, I think the uninitiated consumer you refer to isn't "driven" to low prices by any external force. He goes there deliberately as a function of his priorities. He doesn't choke on the price of his flat panel TV. He ranks music reproduction at a low level, and that's that. No attempt at price competitiveness by those who sell music reproduction as a means to getting his dollar is going to make it and it shouldn't be attempted.

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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

Really? Then how come all the new blood to hi-fi is over at head-fi.org? My guess is because the price of headphone entry is affordable at only a few hundred dollars and can attract high school and college students. They start appreciating the virtues of quality music reproduction and hopefully will travel the path in search of ultimate enjoyment.

The price of entry into speaker based systems is too steep to attract a younger audience on a tight budget. This is why these forums are filled with old fuddy duddies who bask in the notions of exclusive luxury, which is what hi-fi has turned into.

CECE
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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

Who you callin' an old fuddy duddy? And just what IS a Fuddy Duddy? What is the origin of Fuddy Duddy? A new speaker from soemwhere? Fuddy Duddy 2000 XL with 99 4" woofers. Only $23,000/pr. Rave reviews in Fuddy Duddy Hi Fi Mag.

Jeff Wong
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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

New members at Head-Fi are often greeted with the phrase, "Sorry about your wallet." Headphone systems are definitely a good way to enter the world of high performance audio, but, that aspect of audio is also a slippery slope and can lead to spending "unreasonable" amounts of money. Many members at Head-Fi end up purchasing multiples sets of headphones and amps; a lot of that gear gets into the multi-kilobuck range. There are entry level speakers that cost less than headphones these days. The people that are uninitiated at Head-Fi tend to lurk and read and get informed, and are predisposed to wanting more from their gear and their music. I think in general terms you're right. Getting a complete headphone system that sounds better than average can seem affordable. But, prices get crazy with headphone gear as well. I believe these people possess the same audiophile gene as the fuddy duddies you complain about -- the difference is today's young music listener is bound to a portable based music carrier that is closely linked to a computer. The headphone approach is a natural extension to this condition.

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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

Hi Jeff,

You're right that the headphone gear can get crazy. That's the nature of the beast and chasing one's tale with endless lateral equipment changes is the nature of the beast as well. Buyer beware in that regard.

If you notice, many of the headfiers crave for a speaker system, but the price of entry is considerably steeper and college students and high school students aren't in a position to afford that. Once they're out of school, other priorities take hold and hi-fi takes a back seat. If manufacturers and dealers want to tap into a new market, they have to get them while they're in school.

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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes


Quote:
-- the difference is today's young music listener is bound to a portable based music carrier that is closely linked to a computer. The headphone approach is a natural extension to this condition.


Excellent point.

To add to Jeff's observation, it is also common to see posts asking to recommend computer speakers - again, portable driven, computer based.

While starting with an Ipod or the like is a different entry into high-end audio (that is , audio that is better - not more expensive) only time will reveal whether these listeners later develop an interest in more traditional speaker set-ups. I think they will, with the source being server based.

Elk
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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes


Quote:
Well, you see in my day, it was about features and benefits.


I agree that modern marketing is often about vanity and experience - but this is no different than any time in history. For example, the idiomatic phrase "keeping up with the Joneses" is from the very early part of this century (from a popular comic strip).

Selling to those with disposable income has always been based upon presenting items that one doesn't need as necessary: to keep up appearances, to enhance one's experiences, to increase virility, etc. Think of the conspicuous display of art in Grecian homes, the clothing of European aristocracy, the wearing of jewelry throughout history (by both sexes), etc.

Not to defend Hummers (heavy, cumbersome, astoundingly small inside) but anyone that purchases a car other than a used Honda Civic is buying something other than transportation - be it comfort, performance, status, toy, hobby use, etc.

Our hobby is no different and never has been. Many musicians need only the smallest one piece music playback system to fully appreciate the music played on it. When it was primarily DIY, Hi-Fi was about quality but was also about the equipment. As time passed, it also became about consumption and vanity. This is why it is primarily a male hobby (as are performance cars, big screen TV's, big boats, etc.) It isn't because females don't appreciate music.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

There has never been a recorded time in history that has been more about hype and style over substance. EVER!

$5 coffee? Really. Talk about experience marketing.

Most audiophiles I know do not buy "shiney", they buy performance that suits their needs, budgets, and their environment.

The speakers Jeff Kalman sold and replaced with the Watt Puppies would satisfy most of us on just about any level. I do not believe for an instant that Jeff bought the WPs to impress his friends. I do not think that his is style. He bought them because they moved him on a higher level that his B and W 800s did not. This was not a vanity purchase. It was also not some ride on the Pepsi Pin-Ball, as exhilerating at that might be...really...it soda pop for pete's sake.

I am sorry, but this generaion is all about Hype and Stylin'. Most high end audio manufacturers care about what it DOES, not what it is and lets make it real shiney. At least I hope not.

Yes, there are some high end mfgs who dreastically short-sheet the bed, but JA usually finds them out. I am glad he is on the watch.

Sorry for the ranting, but just like Popeye said,"I can't standz it no more"!

Elk
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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

Interesting position.

I guess I am not cynical enough to write off an entire generation or contemporary life so easily, nor am I willing to ignore history and the excess of marketing (think of alchemy, health elixers, the history of medical devices, ghastly showy portraits of the 1600's, more) - there has always been indefensible hype and the need to impress others.

For a historical example of hype in audio: consider the spec wars of the 1970's when vanishingly low levels of THD sold thousands of amps and receivers, despite the increasingly dreadful sound. This is also a great example of learning once again that there are things that we can hear but can't yet measure: some could hear how the sound was getting worse and finally it was discovered that TIM was the problem, something we did not know of earlier, could hear but couldn't measure.

There is indeed plenty of hype in all areas of consumer marketing - but there is wonderful quality and excellence as well among all types of products. There are also many people of all ages and experience that appreciate quality.

I fully agree that Jeff is a thoughtful listener and purchaser of quality products.

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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

This generation is NOT about hype. Starbucks is making inroads because they are a brand with lots of equity and can charge $5 for a cup of coffee. The power has shifted from marketers to consumers that is why 99% of all new brands fail. Brands failing to live their promise are in demise..just look at Dell, Ford and Crysler.

I just picked up two books on hi-fi basics and have to tell you that after reading a little of these books I am damn lucky to have a matched system that sounds so great. The information in these books is confusing and enough to make any newbee say "the hell with it".

Time is the new currency and frankly there are not a hell of a lot of people who have the time to "listen" to hi-fi and appreciate the art in the music.

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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

<<Quote>> "Time is the new currency and frankly there are not a hell of a lot of people who have the time to "listen" to hi-fi and appreciate the art in the music."

You certainly said a mouthful, Rich. I've been retired for a while now, and I was amazed to realize what I'd been missing for so many years. We went to concerts as often (maybe more so) than we do now and I thought I was hearing and enjoying the music. I was very happy with my sound system. I thought I was seeing my wife's garden when I walked in from the garage. I thought I was enjoying food and wine. Well, there was a lot more to be savored, and now that I have the time and a head which isn't full of problems to solve, I see it and hear it.

You say you're lucky to have put together such a nice system. We all need some luck. Luckily, I never parted with my old records as so many did when the magic and utterly convenient silver discs took the scene and luckily I was wrong when I believed that when my turntable and cartridge gave out there'd be no way to replace them.

You understand the situation and you're getting a lot out of your current system and music collection. I guarantee it'll only get better down the road when you have more time.

rmeyer52
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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

I am making the time NOW to ensure that I listen to hi-fi. Since getting my new system I have been pulling ALL my jazz cd's and listening to them again and its like listening for the fist time. It allows me to capture the passion of the artist and the engineer and that to me is what great music is all about. I grew up on Zeppelin, Hendrix and the Beatles but I don't listen to those artists on my system as the recordings just werent engineered well back then. But listen to Coltranes Blue Train and WOW...It's too bad that people cant make the time to really listen through a good system they will never know what they are missing

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

I am not sure what equity has to do with the masses thinking that any cup of joe is worth $5. Chrysler may be making some of their best cars ever, yet their ads have not expressed that very well or used the quality tie in to Mercedes very well to entice customers. Bill Ford's mug on TV did little to impress the buying public either. Dell is suffering through the on-line buying slowdown others are experiencing now. Whether their presence in WalMart helps remains to be seen. I doubt those profit margins are very good, but they will move boxes.

100 million IPods, mostly playing lossy MP3s cannot be wrong, nor can the growing downloading music industry. Most Hi-rez downloads will be bought buy us 1%'rs giving it a whirl.

Your thought that books seem to complicate the assembling of a quality audio system is exactly why Bose has succeeded, and yet to us 1$'rs, not high end in any sense. Give me the price of a $599 Wave Radio and I can assemble a good audio system. It's so easy even a caveman could do it! It will take the opening of at least 3 carboard boxes.

I will admit that Erik Bobeda does give me reason to hope. I remain to be convinced that marketing hype does not reign. The little tv I do watch is evidence enough.

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Re: Rolling Stone: Music Industry Woes

Indeed, Rich, properly engineered material on a hi-fi sounds very exciting. I'm a big jazz fan, too, but I feel compelled to say that rock has the potential to be fantastic on a good system. In an earlier post, you lumped Cream in with other rock groups that you wouldn't bother listening to. Well, if you're looking for an introduction to hi-fi rock, pick up Cream's "Royal Albert Hall". It's one of those "you are there" experiences that shouldn't be missed. The sonics are excellent and it can really show off a system.

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