Free Mahler Downloads – Universal Classics has made its entire discography of 180 Mahler recordings available for free online streaming, though only at 256kbps. It includes 60 titles that are out of print, and will remain available all year since this year is the 100th anniversary of Mahler’s death. (Last year was the 150th of his birth.) You can create playlists of favorite movements and entire symphonies. The technology is not compatible with mobile devices. Rupert Waag conceived of the project and said he felt a 60 second sample per symphony was not a good way to get into them. Universal wanted a way for people to spend a lot of time listening and listening. Of course they hope users will get interested enough to next purchase their Mahler CDs and DVDs. Though there are not yet many hi-res downloads from Universal Classical available at hi-res sites, Waag says they are definitely going to move into hi-res, though some of the recordings will only be 48K/20bit, because that’s the way they were originally recorded. 80% of the listeners so far come from English-speaking countries, and the site is available also in German, Spanish, French and Korean. The Universal site is www.Mahler150.com
Plasma TVs Selling Better – According to the Plasma Display Coalition, sales trends for plasma HDTVs are on the upswing. The group said this was due to 3D features in more models, improved energy efficiency, and more “value for the inch” compared with the competition such as CCFL and LED-backlit LCD displays. Several 2011 plasma models have even met the stringent Energy Star 5.3 requirements. According to the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) CE MarketMetrics program, shipments of plasma TVs between January and May of this year topped one million units at a faster clip than last year. The 720p technology accounts for nearly ⅔ of overall plasma sales. The 60-inch and larger category seems to be the most popular, and plasma sales achieved a 12% year-over-year revenue gain in the first quarter. A Korean analyst said “With 3D functionality, plasma can re-position itself as a lasting technology in the TV industry.”
World’s Largest Music Festival – Over 850,000 music fans and talent are expected for Summerfest 2011 in Milwaukee, WI – billed as the World’s Largest Music Festival. Over 700 bands and 45 food vendors will be there on the shores of Lake Michigan from June 29-July 3 and again from July 5-10. An eclectic collection of performers from rock to country, pop, classic rock, electronic, reggae and R&B will be heard. Such names as Peter Gabriel, Britney Spears, George Clinton, Los Lobos, REO Speedwagon, Styx, Taj Mahal, Todd Rundgren, Meat Loaf, The Flaming Lips and Toots and the Maytals are just a few of those on tap. General admission tickets are only $15 a day.
Audio-Technica Study of UK’s Music Tastes – Audio maker Audio-Technica conducted a study of how obsessed people really are with their music. Over 1000 were questioned on their music habits. 96% said they would rather give up movies for a year over music and 73% would ditch live sports over music, 37% would give up TV for music and 34% would ditch sex rather than go a year without music! On expressing their love of music, 74% said they sometimes spontaneously break into song while driving, 20% sing while at work, 15% sing in the street, and 11% have danced in public while listening to their iPod. People also listen to music in unusual places: 40% in bed, 27% in the shower, and 7% while asleep! People were asked how long they would queue up to get tickets for their “ultimate” music festival; a quarter would wait an hour and 16% would wait for four hours. In Scotland and Wales those prepared to wait overnight were 10% and 11% respectively. AT summarized the study, saying the majority of people actively listen to four hours of music daily, and a fifth of people prefer to use headphones.