Article By Steven R. Rochlin
This article is a mixed tale of angst and celebration while i enjoy side 2 of Yes' 90125 vinyl album. The amazing infighting between other online publication, a writer who feels that reviews are nothing more than fluffed up press releases, an ousted reviewer now TV spokesperson busted for taking tens of thousands from manufacturers, and an overall sense of history repeating itself in general. At first i was angry, but then reality dictates that, perhaps, these new kids may not be aware of audio publication's past and are now doomed in repeating it. Worst still, the focus is not about music or serving the public, but, at times, self interest. And so the story begins... again.
Ah leave it
A few weeks ago there were a few readers who e-mailed me, dismayed with one online publication claiming another one was playing politics. As neither of these was Enjoy the Music.com i took little interest and kept moving forward. Politics is not one of those things i care much about. The e-mails main concern was how we cover the Stereophile show, yet another online website chooses not to. Now who am i to tell another magazine what they should, or should not do? Then another online publication that was also covering the show decided to publish their comments online. To make matters worse, their comments seemed to contain assumptions... accusations... perhaps grandstanding.... maybe political motives? Fact is -- and one could speculate in knowing less coverage from others equals more visitors to their website -- why would one website care what another website does? There was plenty of show coverage to be found online.
Of course publishing an article accusing one magazine... such things may make readers take note. War has a way of polarizing people. As they say, it matters not if people are talking about you in a positive or negative light, the fact you are being discussed is all that counts. But really, this all reminds me of the old The Absolute Sound vs. Stereophile debates that raged on nearly two decades ago. My gosh has it been that long? While i have a feeling these two online publications may not remember these debates due to their relative newness, it appeared that history is indeed repeating itself. Still confused? Ok, fine, here are the details for those who may not know...
Many years ago it was almost assumed by certain readers that if The Absolute Sound loved a piece of equipment, Stereophile would hate it (or visa versa). While one magazine kept things neat and tidy, the other threw slings and arrows in print. Frankly, it was a real mess and, perhaps, hurt the industry in general. Today these two print magazines continue to thrive and the offending sling and arrow publication has experienced wonderful growth under new ownership and a refined editor.
My official stance you ask? My opinion makes little difference. This whole subject is akin to some fleas arguing who owns the dog. The only reason i am writing about all this is in hopes of bringing new light to the situation and to officially say "Please do not e-mail about other online magazines and/or politics. Here is a cyberquarter, call someone else please." Maybe one day we can all relax and enjoy a great beverage (and cigar) together. David Robinson, Dave Clark and i had a great time at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. Maybe these other online magazines could learn from such things?
Once bitten twice shy
Funny how things happen to come to light. Recently over at a suspect discussion board an post came to light. While it appeared to concern Home Theater reviews from publications other than theirs, the feel of the article was that all other magazines were not to be trusted. Worse still, it said that other publications were posting fluffed up press releases guised as actual reviews. Since i am a good friend with quite a few reviewers i took the article as a personal attack on my friends.
So innocently i sent out a private e-mail to the writer and his editor. The replies to my e-mails were astonishing and, at the same time, bewildering yet predictable. How could someone be such a "cocky self righteous puritan." Though their article was good in the fact people were talking about the offending article, (remember: what i said earlier) it matters not if people are talking about you in a positive or negative light, the fact you are being discussed is all that counts.
But in this modern day world of the web with claims of being the best, yet without providing solid data to back up your statement, does any of it really matter? Imagine a car manufacturer saying their car is the best in the world, yet not allowing anyone to test their claim. Perhaps it adds some mystique, yet over time it is forgotten or as lame as "perfect sound forever."
On another note it is indeed true the once popular audio writer, now long-removed and turned TV frontman Corey Greenberg was busted "receiving payments from Apple as well as Sony, Hewlett-Packard, Seiko Epson, Creative Technology and Energizer Holdings, charging $15,000 apiece to talk up their products on news shows." (source: The Washington Post with aid of The Wall Street Journal). Naturally such events does not help the publics' opinion of the press, though please understand that Corey Greenberg has not been a member of the audiophile press for many years... and no one seems to be hiring him as Audio magazine went kaput soon after he became editor. Given his flighty past, what others have told me over the years, and some personal experience with Corey Greenberg, the recent allegations are not surprising. 'nuff said.
Set your heart sail on the river
One people - together
As much as i hate writing all the above, please allow me to share my feelings. Enjoy the Music.com has always been about bringing people together and sharing our love of music. Together we are finding ways to increase our musical bliss. While Stereophile has an open invitation to join us, over the years we have gladly help promote The Absolute Sound, The $ensible Sound, Audiophile Audition, The Audiophile Voice (and Listener before their demise) by offering space within our website. While, fundamentally, the marksman aims at himself, it is also true that a bundle of sticks is stronger than a single one. Perhaps someone will read this article and appreciate my hopes for less showmanship and infighting, and get back to what really matters.
Added: Enjoy the Music.com now offers articles from the excellent, yet now out of print, Sound Practices magazine. This furthers our support for the industry and provides great information for tubeophiles and the DIY community.
And stop telling me about how some writer's feeling that they are famous [sic] or grandstanding and giving away nearly 50 'awards' in a few month's time while we rarely offer awards. An award from Enjoy the Music.com truly means a product deserves merit. Think about it, if we gave away countless awards then the value of said awards would probably be less than the paper they were printed on.
Now will everyone please stop sending me e-mail or stopping me at shows asking me about the above situations. If you have questions, please feel free to directly ask the offending people. This is my only article concerning the above as i have better things to do with my time.
Of course in the end what really matters is that we all....