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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 of Blue.

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 musician.

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













































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