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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for Oct. 8, 2003

PVRs - Enemy of Advertising? - Market researchers C Cubed and The Dowden Center for Emerging Media Research carried out a survey of 322 households with Personal Video Recorders such as TiVo and ReplayTV. While the advertising industry has been concerned that such components hurt them by making it much easier to skip by or eliminate TV commercials, the survey found that if the industry can just adapt to the new medium it may not be a threat. Only 21 percent said they never watch commercials and 68 percent said they watched frequently. Of those who chose to watch them, 74 percent said it was because they found them entertaining. So time-shifting viewers are just getting more picky about which commercials they view the same as they are more picky about which programs they record and later view. However, there is still a court case going on against the makers of ReplayTV, claiming that their automatic ad-skipping feature is the same as theft.

Artist & Producer SACD Guide Published - Airshow Mastering Studio has published a free online comprehensive How-To guide to the production of SACDs. It is intended to help both artists and producers make optimal use of the new hi-res format. The title is “The Artist’s and Producer’s Guide to SACD” and is available at www.airshowmastering.com/sacd.html Airshow’s chief engineer said they saw a need to explain how making a SACD differed from making a CD. Steps such as quality control, getting reference discs, timelines for manufacturing and test pressings are entirely different. There are also new dimensions of multichannel audio, text publishing and authoring of the discs. Airshow was one of the first studios worldwide to install Sony’s Sonoma DSD workstation, and has so far worked on 80 SACDs, including the EMI reissue Tubular Bells.

Dissenting Views on RIAA Statistics - In an article at MacWizards Music, George Ziemann examines statistics the Recording Industry of America has published to back up their allegations that downloading and copying of music from the Net is ruining the record industry. Among his points: Data on new releases - which had been present in the stats from l992 to l999 - were mysteriously overlooked in the RIAA summaries published for 2000 and 2001. The record industry cut their inventory by 25 percent and sales only dropped 4 percent. There were 12,000 fewer new releases in 2001 compared to 1999, so record companies were making more money per release than ever. Until a couple years ago, computer modems were far too slow to download music. But none of the RIAA surveys asked consumers if they were downloading major commercial releases or downloading freely uploaded independent music - the latter is exactly what new artists want users to do! The sales decline only began *after* the RIAA had shut down Napster, not before. The RIAA says sales are down 6 percent over those two years. So considering the economy, is that so difficult to understand? Raising the average price over $14 a disc didn’t help either. Also, one important thing was missing from the 2001 stats: singles. They stopped reporting on singles because that format is dead; this is the product the Internet killed, but it doesn’t come close to the so-called “lost sales” claimed by the RIAA.

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