Audio News for October 15, 2007

by | Oct 15, 2007 | Audio News | 0 comments

Universal Music vs. Apple’s iTunes – Universal Music’s chief Doug Morris failed to renew a contract with Apple’s Steve Jobs some time ago continuing Universal’s contract for downloads on iTunes. (They continue only on a month-to-month basis.) Now the executive of the world’s largest music company hopes to join forces with other record labels to launch their own industry-owned online subscription service. Sony/BMG Music is a potential partner and Warner Music Group is in the talking stage. These three would control about 75% of music sold in the U.S. with the new project, dubbed Total Music. Talks are even going on with Bill Gates.

The group’s plans are to defeat the iTunes/iPod leadership – about 70% of the downloads in the U.S. – by getting the manufacturers of the players and cell carriers to absorb about a $5-per-month subscription fee so consumers can buy a music device with almost whatever they want in free music.  The manufacturers would sell lots more players and the music companies would collect the subscription fees.  The subscriber will pay only for the device, not for the music downloads, which are “free.”  The music becomes a utility – something like the gas or electricity.

Total Music is seen as not just a download service but a new take on how digital music is consumed.  A phone could have a Total Music button to offer a library of music for a free sample period which may be as long as six months. The hope is that subscribers will get used to the service and be willing to later pay a monthly charge for it. Since the various labels’ own experiments with paid downloads has not been successful, the new plan should appeal to them.  Morris has announced a five-month test with Wal-Mart, Google and Best Buy, who will sell music downloads without any DRM – playable on any digital music device rather than just iPods. He wants to see if the downloads cut piracy and raise sales, as well as draw users away from iTunes.  It is estimated that the price of the player will be increased by about $90 over the cost of a similar digital player without Total Music.

First EnergyStar Logo for Whole Home Audio System – NuVo Technologies has received the EnergyStar rating for the very low energy consumption during idle time of its Essentia Whole Home Audio System – the first audio equipment in this category to receive certification.  The EPA and Department of Energy say that 40% of all electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while said products are turned off.  Essentia consumes less a watt of power when in standby mode.

Other features of the $2300 system are: Organic Light Emitting Diode display, a wide viewing angle, tactile buttons, controlling of six sources and six zones with 40 watts per zone (expandable to 12 zones), Philips Class D amps to provide cooler running and power efficiency, switching power supply to further reduce heat output, and an interface that allows control from most home automation systems.  

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