is not easy to come by good news in the current climate. OK, so the Olympics
and Paralympic Games both had a curious cynicism-suspending effect on the UK
psyche, but almost as soon as the last elite athlete zipped up their sports
bag, we were back to gloom and doom. Well, almost. You see, one of the great
advantages of the downturn that is currently decimating the music business is
there has started to be some smart thinking.
While we have not seen the last shot fired in the loudness
war, recent releases have seemed to be pulling back from the full-scale
musical brink. Pop may still be heavily compressed at times, but a few of the
major releases are now beginning to reintroduce some dynamic range. In
addition, behind the scenes, studio engineers, execs and all-round bright folk
are finding ways to satisfy both those of us who want our music as it comes,
and those who just want everything as loud as it can be. Don't expect such a
remarkable change tomorrow, but we are seeing the beginning of the end. Or the
end of the beginning.
While we're continuing to see the glass half full, even the
drop in sales of CDs can be considered somewhat of an advantage to a febrile
music consumer. As the Decca Sound box
set reviewed on the back page of this magazine will attest, we now live in an
age where high quality music is no longer considered valuable and that means
we can plunder music companies back catalogue with gay abandon. In fact, so
desperate are these companies for revenue, they are virtually giving away
their back catalogue for peanuts, because otherwise they risk giving it away
for free... or worse, finding their crown jewels paraded for all to see,
ripped on some dodgy file-share website.
That's not for me, and it shouldn't be for you. We should
have standards to uphold. And it's easy to uphold those standards when you can
buy high-quality CD versions from the record company for less than the price
of a download!
It is with great sadness that we have to announce the passing of Paul Masson (1954-2012), International Business Development Director of Audio Partnership, who died in his sleep following a short illness. Prior to joining Audio Partnership in 1999, Paul had worked for Audio Innovations and Audio Note. He is survived by his wife and two teenage children.
Our thoughts go out to his friends, family and colleagues at this difficult time. He will be sorely missed by all.
Alan Sircom, Editor Hi-Fi+