Nonesuch Fundraiser Raises $1 Million for New Homes in New Orleans – The Nonesuch benefit CD “Our New Orleans” – which featured many of the city’s best-known musicians in songs integral to their lives and expressing their feelings about the city and recent events there – raised $1 million, which the parent company, Warner Bros. Records, has donated to Habitat for Humanity International to build new homes there. The album was made swiftly, over a period of just a month, with one-day recording sessions across the country. Nick Spitzer, who hosts NPR’s American Routes, was one of the producers, along with Ry Cooder, Steve Epstein and Hal Willner. Many involved in the CD donated their time and services. A plan for a New Orleans Habitat Musicians’ Village was developed by Habitat for Humanity, working with Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick, Jr.
CEA Report Predicts 8% Increase in Consumer Electronics Sales for 2006 but 6% Decline 2007 – The Consumer Electronics Association report “U.S. Consumer Electronics Sales & Forecasts 2002-2007” attributes the upcoming decrease in the sales of consumer electronics to a downturn in consumer spending and a failure of new technologies to increase overall prices. Still, the value of such good shipped is expected to reach a respectable $150 billion in 2007. The area know as “digital integrators” is exploding, with customers buying more hi-def TVs, distributed audio, home automation and control, and both wired and wireless IT networking. Home IT is promised to become the largest future sales segment, according to the CEA. Large-screen flat-panel TVs continue as the top-selling item with about $22 billion sales this year. Sinking prices on all such displays is also greasing adoption by the public. You can say goodbye to analog TV in view of the upcoming “tuner mandate.” PC sales were at nearly $18 billion this year, with software at $5.3 billion. VCRs have already been bid goodbye: DVD players/recorders sales were at $2.6 billion, with $3.1 expected next year, and this includes more than a million hi-def players for the two new formats. PVRs and DBS receivers were at $2.2 billion this year, but the market in stand-along recorders is expected to decline as the facility is included in more home entertainment PCs and cable-provided set-top boxes. Separate audio components are flat at $1.3 billion this year and $1.4 next year, but speakers continue to be the big growth area.