Sony and BMG Merger Facing Probe
- The planned merger of Sony (the second biggest record company worldwide) and the German company Bertelsmann (the fifth biggest) will be probed over a four-month period by the European Commission, which is concerned that the merger could create or strengthen a dominant position. The merged firm, to be called Sony BMG, would be based in New York City. Some two thousand independent music labels have joined to fight the Sony/BMG merger. Last year EMI (the third largest record company) failed in an effort to buy the fourth largest, Warner Music. The consolidation of major labels is felt to result from the uncertainties about future sales of CDs and the industry effort to sell music as Internet downloads to fight the recent increase in music piracy.
New Surround Technology
- The first U.S. demonstration of a new spatial audio technology called Wave Field Synthesis will be held this week in Los Angeles. Germanys Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology - the creators of MP3 - have worked on the development of the format for 20 years. Wave Field Synthesis employs many small speakers working synchronously to accurately build and recreate natural sound waves. It enables the exact placement of sounds inside or outside of the listening space, total auditory immersion, and a sonic environment where every seat is in the sweet spot. Mastering engineer George Massenburg called the technology the single most impressive advance Ive seen for a long time. Fraunhofer - Europes largest applied research institute - has developed commercial application for WFS under the name IOSONO. More information (in German) at www.iosono-sound.com
2005 CES Preview
- The International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is scheduled for January 6 to 9, 2005. It is the largest annual tradeshow of any kind in North America and expects over 2400 exhibitors in 20 product areas - from wireless, digital imaging, computing and networking technology to audio, video and accessories for home, office and on the road. Exhibits will be inside and outside of the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Las Vegas Hilton and the Alexis Park (specialty audio). Some of the exhibitors taking the largest spaces at the 2005 show include Kenwood, Panasonic, Sony, Pioneer, Samsung, Sharp and Toshiba. The convention includes educational conference sessions as well as over a dozen specialty TechZones showing the latest products from the $101 billion consumer electronics industry. General registration is available at www.CESweb.org