Taylor Swift Takes Apple to Task – Folk singer Taylor Swift (who now’s gone pop) wrote a letter to Apple Music asking them to not refuse to pay arists during an initial three-month free trial of the new streaming service. She felt it was shocking, disappointing, and unlike the historially progressive and generous company. And they complied! Just hours after her note went up, Apple announced it would be now paying all artists for their music during the free period, if at a reduced rate. Her letter actually helped Apple, by making those unaware of their new streaming service aware. And more performers who resisted putting their music on Apple Music are now changing their tune. The ensuing rich library of available songs to check out could make Apple Music the most successful streaming service almost overnight. [In spite of no hi-res as yet…Ed.]
Bluetooth Speakers Push Home Audio Growth – The latest report from Futuresource Consulting shows the home audio market grew by 22% in 2014 to ship 71 milliion units. Trade value generated just under $10 billion worth of revenue. Wireless speakers and soundbars exceeded market expectation, accounting for the lion’s share, and far outweighing the decline in demand for traditiional audio devices. Bluetooth speakers fueled the strong growth in wireless speakers in both the lower end of the price spectrum as well as multiroom audio at the premium end. [Part of this is probably the improved fidelity of the latest version of aptX used in most Bluetooth speakers – but it still doesn’t equal the fidelity of wired speakers…Ed.]
The report predicts that virtually all home audio devices will be wireless by 2019 as “consumers seek connectivity to popular streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music, as well as to other devices such as their smartphone.” North American currently dominates in the home audio market with 43% of the worldwide market, but that is expected to fall to 38% by 2019 due to the increasing popularity of wireless speakers in Asia. An analyst said the home audio market is undergoing rapid change and we are seeing traditional CE brands shift their focus to wireless audio to remain competitive in the market. [Bear in mind that as everything around us becomes wireless, serious interference problems will only increase, and a wired connection is always more reliable…Ed]
ZAOR Studio Furniture and IsoAcoustics Speaker Isolation Solutions Join Forces – The Italian high-end speaker stand firm will collaborate with the Canadian company’s efforts to produce an attractive series of speaker stands, desktop speaker stands, and media production workstation desks that integrate unique patented speaker isolation and positioning technology. IsoAcoustics’ solutions address the Placement, Isolation and Focus principals that affect sound, allowing speakers to ‘float’ freely in space, to result in authentic uncolored sound. ZAOR speaker stands are one of the few which allow adjustment to different heights without compromising sonic values, and are mostly wood, which gets away from metal resonance problems.