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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for March 12, 2003

Janis Ian Responds to RIAA & NARAS - Remember singer-songwriter Janis Ian (Society’s Child)? Last year she wrote a lengthy piece on the Internet/Music Industry hassle about free music downloads destroying the industry. Some choice excerpts: “Am I suspicious of all this hysteria? You bet...My site gets an average of 75,000 hits a year - not bad for someone whose last hit record was in l975. When Napster was running full-tilt, we received about 100 hits a month from people who’d downloaded... for free, then decided they wanted more information. Of those 100 people 15 bought CDs...that translates into $2700, which is a lot of money in my book. And that doesn’t include the ones who bought the CDs in stores or who came to my shows. Now RIAA and NARAS...are arguing that free downloads hurt sales...Alas, the music industry needs no outside help to destroy itself. We’re doing a very adequate job of that on our own, thank you.”

An associated article by Jim Schwab points out that most of the downloads are from people who want to try an artist out. He says to remember that the music industry had exactly the same response to the advent of open reel home tape recorders, cassettes, DATs, MiniDisc, Beta, VHS and music videos. And that the reason they didn’t react publicly to the introduction of the CD was because they believed CD’s could not be a consumer-recordable medium. He also hits the music industry’s concern over increasing sales of blank CDs, pointing out they fail to consider all the computer users employing them for regular backups of data (not music) and that when he buys a new CD he burns three copies of it: one for his car player, one for upstairs, and one for his partner. Schwab states that everyone is forgetting the main way an artist becomes successful - by exposure.

Dolby Headphone Technology Developments - At the recent CES in Las Vegas Dolby Headphone technology was demonstrated in unlocking the multichannel audio tracks found today in increasing media content. The unique processing, originally developed by Australia’s Lake Technology, delivers a high-quality surround sound experience with any headphones from any 5.1 or stereo source, and without the listener fatigue or in-your head effects common with other headphone applications. It can be used for movies, music, video and computer games and other personal applications. Pioneer has a cordless headphone system using the process but is not yet available in the U.S. The InterVideo WinDVD player uses it and is available. Receivers from Denon, Onkyo and others will feature Dolby Headphone at their headphone jacks.

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