Audio News

Weekly Audio News for April 20, 2005


Published on April 20, 2005

Higher Incomers Buy More Home Electronics – An Irish market
research firm has offered a Luxury Tracking Report which in its first
iteration surveyed 717 affluent consumers with over $75,000 household
income and who purchased at least one luxury item in the third quarter
of 2004. During this period their consumption of travel, fine dining,
jewelry, watches and various service businesses fell, but they bought
more home luxuries – with the greatest increase tracked in home
electronics and photography.

Record Company Beefs With Apple
- The major record labels basically put the online digital music
business into Apple’s hands with the iTunes Music Store. Apple doesn’t
make much off iTunes after payments are made to publishers, labels and
artists, but they make a bundle selling iPods. However, the labels have
different aims in selling their music from the 99 cents per track of
iTunes. They would prefer various pricing methods like charging less
for reissue material and more for newer tracks and albums – helping
them take advantage of the demands for music and maximize their
revenue. Some labels are now looking into different ways to sell
digital music, including even digital downloads to cell phones.

Beefing Up the “Betamax” Decision
- The Home Recording Rights Coalition (HRRC) endorses the legislation
known as The Digital Media Consumers’ Rights Art of 2005 (H.R. 1201).
It would codify into U.S. law the Supreme Court’s 1984 landmark
decision in the Betamax case. It would assure “fair use” protection
under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act for consumers, libraries,
universities, archivists and other lawful users of copyrighted works.
HRRC Chairman Gary Shapiro said “Without the protection of this
doctrine…large corporate content providers would exercise a veto over
every new function of every new [electronic] product.”

Music Servers Make Inroads in Home Audio
- Putting both existing collections of discs and Internet downloads of
music on music servers in the home may become a mass market given
sooner than we thought. Both hard drive storage and bandwidth have come
down in cost, codecs are improving, and some audiophiles don’t even
data-reduce their PCM files before putting on the servers. Products are
beginning to appear to serve the server fans. The Blackbird Digital
Music Player is designed especially for audio storage and playback (we
hope to obtain one for review soon), and Integra has released the
NAS-2.6 with a 160GB hard drive. One concern in addition to sonic
quality is whether digital rights management software will allow
unimpeded copying.

- John Sunier




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