Audio News for September 23, 2011

by | Sep 23, 2011 | Audio News

Changes in European Copyright Law – Pressure and lobbying from the major record companies are causing Europen legislators to change the copyright terms in sound recordings from 50 years to 70.  Whenever the Beatles catalog comes near turning into public domain you can be sure there were will be extensions of the copyright period, due to EMI. In the U.S. the main pressure group is Disney, with the length having been recently changed to 95 years. (When Mickey Mouse’s time gets close, expect it to be extended even further.) The new European contract has many clauses inserted to make it look like it will supposedly help hard up musicians, but most of them are meaningless since the legal arms of the big labels can easily side-step them, just as here in the U.S. Unless a senior artist has had a very long and successful music career, the original rate from the 1960s still stands, which only pays them a few cents per album. Most albums of music 50 years old only sell a few hundred copies a year. The new law may also prevent the several small European labels restoring great historical performances from doing those from the 1960s which have presently gone into public domain status.
SiriusXM to Provide New Services – SiriusXM will launch satellite radio 2.0 service and two 2.0-capable mobile tuners in about a month. Their first universal tuner, for connection to other brands of satellite-ready auto head units, will not support the new service, but a new version will be available next year. The new service adds 30 channels of programming, but will not be delivered to aftermarket or maker-installed Sirius auto tuners. The new tuners offer replay and time-shift functions, and the additional channels will also be available thru SiriusXM’s Internet-delivered service. The new service uses “bandwidth cloning” technology to offer the additional channels without reducing sound quality.
Dual CD Receiver Adds Sat-Radio Connector – The rebirthed Dual brand has three new CD receiver head ends for cars, including their first to connect to the SiriusXM universal satellite-radio tuner. The CD receiver is $199 and the SiriusXM universal tuner $69. The latter gets its power from the head end, and the combination is designed to drive down the cost of buying and installing satellite radio. A portable-device mount on the front allows attaching a smartphone or iPod to the receiver. Stereo Bluetooth and Bluetooth AVRC profile are added to the head unit, and smartphones with Pandora Net Radio allow control of Pandora’s play/pause and skip functions by pressing the track-up control on the front panel of the Dual head unit.
Netflix Changes Name of Mail Business to Quikster – The movie rental company is splitting its DVD-by-mail business off into a separate unit called Quikster, while separating billing for its streaming-video service from its DVD-by-mail business. The fee for by-mail rentals will be boosted. Video game rentals will be added for an extra charge, and Netflix will increase the number of available streaming videos.
B & O Expands Base with Sub-Brand – Bang & Olufsen will launch a new brand of lower-priced but high-quality design-oriented products to expand its customer base.  The number of stores world-wide will also be expanded, and the new (yet unnamed) brand will be available not just in B & O-branded stores but also thru other retailers—including some Apple stores and Apple’s online store. The sub-brand will be limited to iPod speakers, headphones and perhaps wireless speakers.

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