There is no doubt that as we continue into the 21st century there has been an increase in the number of audio shows. Not just within the United States of America, but other places as well. Many say that this is largely due to the decrease in the number of brick and mortar audio salons. This explanation is open to question. Yes, during the end of the last century there was a considerable decline in the number of local high-end retailers. But since then, that number has certainly leveled off. I live very close to a large metropolitan area and their numbers have increased. All things being equal, when I have a choice I make my purchases at a brick and mortar high-end salon rather than an Internet retailer. There is nothing against Internet dealers mind you, and have certainly purchased many audio components through them, but it is useless comparing one piece of gear against anther if one isn't available for comparison.
Unless you are actively contemplating the purchase of a specific piece of gear, most owners and sales people at your local audio retailer (if there is a local audio retailer to visit) aren't inclined to welcome you into their place of business to show you a host of their newest offerings across the all genres and price ranges. It takes time and effort to demonstrate this equipment, or perhaps have company reps on hand to answer your questions while at the same time having their business act as a place to hang out for a few days while you amuse yourself with some of their state-of-the-art offerings. Yes, it's a shame that there aren't as many high-end retails in as many places as there was during high-end audio's local retailing peak. Although there is an abundance of overlap, audio shows serve a different purpose than high-end retailers. And from what I've heard from many audiophiles, audio shows are a lot more fun than visiting an audio retailer, not to mention they are very welcoming.
Still, most audiophiles don't live anywhere near an audio retailer. So, to repeat myself, audio shows are the best placed to see the newest offerings from a large number of high-end audio manufacturers. This equipment encompasses gear of all types and price ranges. It also allows you to enjoy active demonstrates of this equipment. In addition, there will be company reps on hand to answer your questions, and for audiophiles to enjoy themselves in a place where others with like minds can hang out for a few days while surrounded by some of the industry's greatest offerings.
But what if you can't make it to an audio show? There are certainly more audio shows that take place across the USA, and throughout the world, than one is likely to be able to attend. That's where Enjoy the Music.com comes in. A typical issue of Enjoy the Music.com is likely to have more than just a show report where you'll be able to read about many more manufacturers than you might have seen even if you were there! High-resolution photos are posted where you'll be able to gawk at equipment that ranges from affordable gear to statement products that were built just for that show! And now a few words from Steven...
Picking up where Tom left off, as he said there are many shows worldwide that include large events around the world, to smaller and more intimate get-togethers. In fact those smaller events seem to be gaining their fair share of a music loving audience. While Enjoy the Music.com does our best to cover as many shows as possible, all publications and manufacturers have long realized the immense time and expense of events can be a challenge. With the recent Montreal show situation bringing some of this to the forefront, eventually not all shows can be successful. As much as I'd love to see every major city worldwide have a high-end audio show, the economics and time constraints simply make this task impossible. Ok, perhaps not impossible, yet not viable at that scale.
Thus local brick and mortar retailers are one of the keys to high-end audio's success. Each week I get at least an announcement, or three, about some event featuring a product representative and/or new product at their store. As much as we'd love to report on them all, that, too, is simply impossible. An event in Paris this week, one in New York City three days later followed by something really cool in Australia two days later. Obviously you can see where we're going with this. In a few weeks we'll be at AXPONA 2016 in Chicago providing great coverage and, spoiler alert, Rick Becker is busy writing his Montreal Salon Audio // Audio fest 2016 show report to appear in many parts on Enjoy the Music.com. Then comes the HIGH END 2016 show report from Munich and of course T.H.E. Show Newport 2016.
Of note are the many smaller shows featuring portable audio, which seem to spring up faster than my convertible 6-liter W12 twin turbo engine can burn through a tank of gas at 190mph (top down, 'natch). AXPONA will have both an excellent home and portable audio section as will other events in 2016. Unlike those small get-togethers, those who love live music can hear great musicians doing what they do best. Shows are far more than just a gathering of gear, as we all want to fully enjoy and engage with others. This makes us feel 'part of' something fun. Major multi-day live music events have grown to become enormous! While we're seeing some consolidation in that regard, just as with audio shows, they will continue to be a strong presence within their respective industry. Smallish shows might fall by the wayside, yet as they say the cream rises to the top. We look forward to seeing you at one of the many major audio events during 2016.
As always, in the end what really matters is that you...