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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for June 26, 2002

Canada May Increase Taxes on Recordable Media - The Canadian Copyright Board will vote in September on raising taxes on blank cassettes, MiniDiscs, CDs, DVDs, memory cards and even hard drives. They have been lobbied to take this step to help the music industry recover lost revenue from the copying of music recordings. The taxes could range from 59 cents for each CD-R disc, $2.27 for a recordable DVD blank, to as much as $21 per gigabyte of a hard drive. Should it pass this tax could cause a backlash from many who require digital storage for speech, digital cameras, computer backup and many other non-music needs where copyright is not involved.

CD Prices Falling - Some record labels are beginning to realize that one way to fight illegal copying is to offer CDs at a more reasonable price than $16 to $20. The additional creative extras on many $25 DVD videos make them seem worth that cost, but the risk of investing almost that much in a pop CD with only one good track is being turned down by many possible buyers. The added enhancements of DVD-As and SACDs also warrant their higher prices vs. standard CDs. Some labels are paying CD shops rebates so that they can offer their product at bargain prices. And some top labels are offering developing rock acts at prices as low as $6.99. The success of the Naxos bargain label in the classical market must also be a factor in this trend.

Gender Choice in Childrens' Musical Instruments - A study at the University of Sydney, Australia, sampled kindergarten and fourth grade students' feelings about orchestral instruments that they might pick to learn how to play. It found that 30 years after the sexual revolution children are still culturally conditioned as to their choices. Boys gravitate toward 'male' instruments such as trumpets, saxophones or drums, while girls picked 'female' instruments such as flutes, harps and cellos. Never mind the barrier-breaker models in music today, such as Yo-Yo Ma and Evelyn Glennie. Boys chose instruments appropriate to their gender more frequently than did girls. The researcher said "They just cannot pick a 'feminine' instrument" - indicating that boys find it harder to break out of gender stereotypes than do girls.

Heavier Audiophile LPs in the Works - Classic Records, who have turned the clock back to mono days by announcing their reissue series of 15 great Blue Note mono-era LPs, will now begin to press all of their LP reissues on a new 200-gram Super Vinyl, instead of the 180-gram weight normal for many audiophile LPs. Major sonic improvements are said to result from the heavier discs, which also employ Classic's Quiex SV-P vinyl formulation.

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