Audio News for September 25, 2012
Published on September 25, 2012
Universal Purchase of EMI Approved – The latest example of the encouragement of huge corporate monopolies is the regulatory clearance just given Universal Music Group by The European Commission and the Federal trade Commission in the U.S. for the $1.9 billion purchase of EMI Music. Many consumer and independent music groups have spoken out against the impending deal for months. An attorney at Public Knowledge, a digital rights advocacy group, said by failing to block the merger the FTC is allowing Universal to acquire unprecedented market power and to amass a dominant collection of copyright holdings which can be used to raise prices for consumers and to create a new tax on innovation among digital music services. The deal was approved under the condition that Universal must sell one-third of EMI’s assets, including Parlophone and other labels in Europe, as well as rights to release music around the world by some of EMI’s most famous acts. The labels involved in Europe generate about $450 million annual revenue, but global rights could add more. The French conglomerate Vivendi owns Universal and needs to sell the one-third assets for as much or more than they paid. The whole thing may take six to nine months to complete.
Philips Explores The Sound of Creation – Philips has launched an interactive musical story and digital experience on their Facebook page and on a microsite titled “The Sound of Creation.” It showcases the acoustic design and craftsmanship of the Philips Fidelio product range with a nine-part story. It includes an exploration of air movement thru a trumpet, 400 different ear molds that were made for their M1 headphones, and an early experiment for a SoundSphere speaker’s tweeter made from a bent spoon glued to a speaker with pieces of bubblegum. Philips wants in the presentation to communicate their brand’s promise of “sense and simplicity.”
Wireless AV in the Home – Music has become more portable than ever due to the wireless transmission of signals to various mobile devices and wireless speakers. The explosive growth of smartphones and tablets is primarily the key to this. Bluetooth has become a popular way to transmit audio between devices, tho in the past it has required a considerable power drain; the new Bluetooth 4.0 standard is more efficient. But the uncabled home—now possible due to the advent of home Wi-Fi networks—has been slow in coming. Some of the reasons are consumer indifference, the cost of consuming wireless data, its sometime unreliability, the global recession, and the protocol diversity. The last is due to the many different standards used by different manufacturers. The goal is that not only audio and video but everything else in the home will be controlled wirelessly: lights, furnace, air conditioning, washers & dryers, doors, curtains, security, you name it. There is even a monitor that alerts working parents when their children arrive home.