Audio News for April 5, 2011

by | Apr 5, 2011 | Audio News | 0 comments

Online Music Piracy – is still being blamed by the RIAA and major labels for the decline in recorded music sales, in spite of heaps of evidence to the contrary.  Global sales have supposedly fallen by nearly $1.5 billion over the last year, though this analysis fails to take into account the many teenagers buying single downloads rather than full-length CD albums, the widespread demise of smaller music retailers, and the rise of self-publishing and independent labels – not to mention all the many other distractions open to young people today, with smart phones, tablets, computer games, movie downloads, social sites, you name it!

Brilliant Classics Folded?
– Not so, though online rumors abound that the budget-priced classical label is no more. Their holding company had indeed folded, but Brilliant has been sold and so will continue as before.

Aussie Manufacturer Says Hi-Fi Shops Are a Dying Breed
– The head of Parrot Australia has a new pair of speakers that are Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled and will market them via department stores rather than traditional hi-fi dealers – which he says are a dying breed. The Zikmu wireless speakers (around $2000 in Australia, where the U.S. dollar is worth $1.25) come in a variety of colors and have room for an iPod dock in one speaker.   With aerial curves and bright colors they look like a work of art. You can also stream audio wirelessly from your Mac, iPhone, smartphone, PC or MP3 player via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, and an analog hi-fi input allows connection to CD players or TV sets.  The speakers use sophisticated DPS signal processing and flat-panel NXT technology. A honeycomb membrane structure is vibrated by exciters in carefully defined positions resulting in uniform energy distribution thru the room. The bottom of the speakers contain subwoofers placed in the down-firing position. Bass end is amplified by placing the housing as close as possible to the floor.

Opera at the Movies – The Live-in-HD theatrical presentations of the Metropolitan Opera performances at neighborhood theatres has been a big success.  Cheaper than any live opera tickets, the video presentations benefit from first-rate surround sound, clear subtitles, exciting closeups of the singers which would not be possible in any opera house, and interesting intermission video features.  But the Met’s General Manager Peter Gelb said when the project was launched that it would not be an end in itself. The main idea was to help opera reach a wider audience and lure new audiences. It appears this has not happened. Regional opera companies have become skeptical about the pulling power of the HD presentations, and now worry they undercut their own efforts. Scads of new patrons are not coming thru the Met’s doors because of the program either.  Certainly the HD presentations are spreading the word about the Met thru the world, but that was spread for many decades by the famous Texaco radio broadcasts every Saturday.  Now the medium is SOTA TV, and it seems to be at odds with the art form.

Pandora Subpoenaed in Probe of Their App
– Online music provider Pandora disclosed it has received a supoena related to a federal grand jury investigation of sharing customer information in its app for smartphones. Pandora collects information from users such as gender, ZIP code, music preferences, and other information to help advertisers target individuals.  Such applications have come under fire as officials question whether these apps violate consumers’ privacy. Apple has also been named in several class action lawsuits.  The lawsuits allege that the defendants have violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.  Federal prosecutors in New Jersey are investigating if smartphone apps illegally obtain or transmit information about their users without proper disclosures.

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