Live Music on the Rise! Audiophiles on the Decline?
Who to Support?
Article by Steven R. Rochlin
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With the economy in America doing
so well, the amount of live music seems to be at an all-time high. There have
been more ticket sales for musical performances this year than in many years past. While i do not have
the exact figures, it is commonplace today to have large music venues sold out. Alas,
i am not referring to your favorite audiophile group. After all, you will not
see a stadium full of people ready to see (add exclusive audiophile label band
here). Meanwhile popular bands are keeping the live sound reinforcement industry
extremely busy this summer. From Kiss to Korn, George Strait to Britiney Spears
and Ozzfest to Summer Sanitarium. The bands are all out in force packing concert halls and
stadiums only seen during the heydays of The Who. In fact the demand of music is
so high that the proliferation of downloading music online seems to have not
interfered with the increase in year -to-date music sales. So why does there seem to be
so few new audiophiles?
Could it be all the lip syncing of 'N Sync or the spot on
commercial targeting of Britney Spears? Music as a true product versus that of
musical expression by talented artists. Who cares how they sound, they look
great in front of cameras and can be trained to dance. Milli Vanilli anyone? Some of my recording studio friends seem to
feel that musical artists do not need much talent to sound good as they did
years ago... and they are right! Add some pitch correction here, a few good studio effects there and
even my lousy, harsh, off pitch voice could sound almost as sweet as pop candy.
So what if i did not get the song right on the first take, we have another 63 tracks (or
more) to record on. Take the first few words from track 3, the next line from
track 47... Track 62 had a great sounding phrase so we can use that too. Mix it
all up and presto chango! You now a perfect performance. Why does it seem that recording and popularizing truly talented musicians declined
with the advent of large multi-track studios?
Fact is my friends, whether you choose to believe it or not,
there is simply no money in audiophile music. This is not to say there are
no profits, but rather why should major labels spend tens and hundreds of
thousands of dollars on recording an orchestra? For less money and troubles you
have a better chance on greater financial returns with a new boy band. Classical
music is, like most of its listeners, virtually dead. Jazz and blues fairs
better thank goodness. Besides,
there must be hundreds of versions of Vivaldi The Four Seasons already on
CD so why do we need yet another one? Audiophiles seems to be supporting
remastered Living Stereos and yet the umteenth remaster of Miles Davis Kind
If we are true music lovers who want genuinely good music
and equipment manufactures to thrive then we need to have a voice. Sure there's
the Academy Advancing High Performance Audio and Video (AAHPAV) seem to be nonexistent.
Sure they pat each other on the backs as they claim to "work to increase
awareness and expand the market share of its membership by building a line of
communication with the consumer through all available channels..." yet no
one in the public i know of has ever hear of them. In fact very few audiophiles
seem to be aware of them, though they have been around for a few years now.
Instead, why not support and act within a real organization? Namely, the National
Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS). These are the same folks
who offer the world renown Grammy awards.
Not only do they honor both classical music and modern
musicians, they also help to promote music education within the community. They
are visually seen at many shows. Their members are active in the recording
industry. They have many offices throughout America where both known and unknown
musicians get together and talk about their craft. You could say they are active
on the "ground floor" in exposing children to the joys of being a
What we audiophiles need is a real organization which truly
exposes the public the possibilities to top quality music reproduction. There
needs to be a new grass roots movement or as current audiophile die off we will
simply have those who grew up enjoying MP3 "CD Quality" music through
their lousy $200 computer speaker system. i would like to hear from you. What
ideas do you feel would help better promote higher quality music
reproduction systems? Is there any hope, or are we the last of our breed? Your
suggestions are appreciated. As always...
Enjoy the music,
Steven R. Rochlin