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Is the Hi-Fi industry inherently not adapted to the 21st century (serious discussion)?

Jim Taylor

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Why do you have concerns about the business model of the music industry?

I didn't say I was concerned. I was noticing a trend. See 4th entry below.

Do you care who will be the next Ed Sheeran, are you looking forward to all the upcoming copycats of Billie Eilish, will we ever get a new Prince?

Absolutely not. Please don't put words in my mouth.

The reason for any artist should be the art itself, not if and how they will make money out of their music.

Might that be slightly naive? :)

The "business model" is more of a tool made by people who want to make money out of someone else's art, but this middle-hand is not needed anymore. The artist can fund their own recordings, they can easily distribute the music to every corner of the world thanks to the digital music formats, through their own websites or sites like Bandcamp who only take 12-15% of the revenue.

And it appears that this IS the new business model ...... if it can work. My opinion is that there will always be a need for professional studios, recording, mixing and mastering engineers. In the past, the studios and producers controlled the artists to a very great degree, because the artists couldn't self-fund studio work, vinyl pressing and distribution, and airplay. The Industry was, in a very literal sense, a commercial bank, albeit a controlling one.

And I doubt that their participation will totally disappear. When you say that the artist can fund their own recordings, that presupposes that they already have the money to do so. Emerging artists generally don't. There is still a need for a "bank" of some sort to make professional services available to artists who need more than what they can manage on a DAW, a bunch of emulation software and a set of mics.
It's going to be reduced in scope. What we don't know right now is how far it will be reduced. Jim
 

valerianf

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The problem is not at the music industry or movie industry level as source materials have never been available in such a large quantity (streaming).
The problem is matching the hardware offer with the customers wishes.
If it is the users of phone, earbuds, soundbars that are making the mass market, then the manufacturers of AVR, BR players, tower speakers can close their factories.
Let us make a time jump: in the 80's, young people were sparing money to be able to buy equipment able to make big sound.
They were using it to make the sound at some parties, that was tolerated at that time.
For that you need watts, big speakers...
Nowadays young people have their phones and earbuds.
If they want to share the music with friends, at best they will use a Sonos speaker.
The battle is lost for the main hardware manufacturers.

All that left, year after year is a niche market.
Prices will go up (less volume production) and choice will be limited (manufacturer bankruptcies).
Sony, Technics, Aiwa, Panasonic, Akai, Thiele, Accoustic Reasearch ... are gone (for the audio market).

The audio world is changing, not in the direction of music quality listening ( at the exception of HD streaming).
I never listened music using a phone, or only in vacation (then I am out of range from my usual hardware).
 

escksu

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The problem is not at the music industry or movie industry level as source materials have never been available in such a large quantity (streaming).
The problem is matching the hardware offer with the customers wishes.
If it is the users of phone, earbuds, soundbars that are making the mass market, then the manufacturers of AVR, BR players, tower speakers can close their factories.
Let us make a time jump: in the 80's, young people were sparing money to be able to buy equipment able to make big sound.
They were using it to make the sound at some parties, that was tolerated at that time.
For that you need watts, big speakers...
Nowadays young people have their phones and earbuds.
If they want to share the music with friends, at best they will use a Sonos speaker.
The battle is lost for the main hardware manufacturers.

All that left, year after year is a niche market.
Prices will go up (less volume production) and choice will be limited (manufacturer bankruptcies).
Sony, Technics, Aiwa, Panasonic, Akai, Thiele, Accoustic Reasearch ... are gone (for the audio market).

The audio world is changing, not in the direction of music quality listening ( at the exception of HD streaming).
I never listened music using a phone, or only in vacation (then I am out of range from my usual hardware).

Haha, today lifestyle audio products are the ones flooding the market.
The problem is not at the music industry or movie industry level as source materials have never been available in such a large quantity (streaming).
The problem is matching the hardware offer with the customers wishes.
If it is the users of phone, earbuds, soundbars that are making the mass market, then the manufacturers of AVR, BR players, tower speakers can close their factories.
Let us make a time jump: in the 80's, young people were sparing money to be able to buy equipment able to make big sound.
They were using it to make the sound at some parties, that was tolerated at that time.
For that you need watts, big speakers...
Nowadays young people have their phones and earbuds.
If they want to share the music with friends, at best they will use a Sonos speaker.
The battle is lost for the main hardware manufacturers.

All that left, year after year is a niche market.
Prices will go up (less volume production) and choice will be limited (manufacturer bankruptcies).
Sony, Technics, Aiwa, Panasonic, Akai, Thiele, Accoustic Reasearch ... are gone (for the audio market).

The audio world is changing, not in the direction of music quality listening ( at the exception of HD streaming).
I never listened music using a phone, or only in vacation (then I am out of range from my usual hardware).

One thing I notice with many people today is they do not really sit there and listen to music. Chances are they will be doing something else instead. Eg. surf net, facebook etc.... while listening to music. Hence, regardless of how incredible the the audio may be, if you arent paying attention, it will not be audible.
 

Eetu

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It's easy to see what the main issue with the hi-fi industry is: (the lack of) economics of scale.

You can get a mini Genelec in the form of Google Nest Audio for 79€ and products like the Ikea/Sonos speaker just reviewed by Amir offer unbeatable value for money. They expect to sell tons and tons of them and can afford the R&D. And the performance is certainly good enough for the average joe.
 
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escksu

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It's easy to see what the main issue with the hi-fi industry is: (the lack of) economics of scale.

You can get a mini Genelec in the form of Google Nest Audio for 79€ and products like the Ikea/Sonos speaker just reviewed by Amir offer unbeatable value for money. They expect to sell tons and tons of them and can afford the R&D. And the performance is certainly good enough for the average joe.

Oh yes, speakers today offers alot of performance for pretty low prices. Even for budget amp/speaker combos.

At such prices, I feel they usually lack things like transparency and stereo imaging. But, when it comes to filling a room/hall with good quality audio, they do it extremely well. The clarity is is there, dynamics are there. Sounds very good.
 

goat76

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I didn't say I was concerned. I was noticing a trend. See 4th entry below.



Absolutely not. Please don't put words in my mouth.



Might that be slightly naive? :)



And it appears that this IS the new business model ...... if it can work. My opinion is that there will always be a need for professional studios, recording, mixing and mastering engineers. In the past, the studios and producers controlled the artists to a very great degree, because the artists couldn't self-fund studio work, vinyl pressing and distribution, and airplay. The Industry was, in a very literal sense, a commercial bank, albeit a controlling one.

And I doubt that their participation will totally disappear. When you say that the artist can fund their own recordings, that presupposes that they already have the money to do so. Emerging artists generally don't. There is still a need for a "bank" of some sort to make professional services available to artists who need more than what they can manage on a DAW, a bunch of emulation software and a set of mics.
It's going to be reduced in scope. What we don't know right now is how far it will be reduced. Jim

Well, by reading your earlier post it seemed like you were worried about artists not wanting to enter the music industry if there's no compensation to be had, and that the current business model may need a change to prevent the collapse of the music industry.
Anyway, I'm sorry it came out as putting words in your mouth.
If there is no compensation for emerging artists, then there is no reason for them to enter The Industry.

We may need a completely different business model to prevent the collapse of the music industry from BOTH ends. Jim


I just don't see the "music industry" side worth saving and I don't really think we need a "business model" at all, there's no need for a middle hand between the artists and the consumers and therefore no need for a well thought out business model. Many artists are just happy to spread their art and the ones with more ambitions than that can hope it can lead to something more than that, naive or not. :)

I don't think there's a lot of musicians out there besides maybe the big mainstream artists who make a living or even get compensation worth mention by selling records, for most musicians the main income probably comes from live gigs and other types of performances, and that has probably not changed over the history timeline of selling records.

This is a fun read written in the time of physical media with a good (made up?) example of a band selling 250.000 records, and where the band members only make about 4000 each in the end. In real life, the author has a pretty good idea of how the music industry works from both ends, being both a musician and a recording engineer. If you just want the numbers you can scroll down to the end of the article. https://thebaffler.com/salvos/the-problem-with-music
 
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AudioStudies

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I don't think all musicians are good recording engineers, so I do see value in a "music industry" -- hopefully one that won't take advantage of the artists. Its easier to be your own photographer nowadays also, but great swimsuit models may do better with a professional photographer.
 

goat76

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I don't think all musicians are good recording engineers, so I do see value in a "music industry" -- hopefully one that won't take advantage of the artists. Its easier to be your own photographer nowadays also, but great swimsuit models may do better with a professional photographer.

I have nothing against recording studios, when artists fund there own recordings they can still hire a professional recording engineer of their choice and a real studio.
 

AudioStudies

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I have nothing against recording studios, when artists fund there own recordings they can still hire a professional recording engineer of their choice and a real studio.
Yes, if they can afford to self-fund. Many examples in life though where the best artists cannot afford what they need to perform at their best. Many very gifted classical musicians for example cannot afford the instruments they play. A support network of some sort can thus be very beneficial, for both classical musicians to acquire instruments, and likewise for aspiring musicians in other genres to acquire top-notch recording engineers. As an example, The Mammas and Pappas were not only dead broke, but in debt, when they signed their first contract. I realize that was "back in the day" and things are a lot different now. But I still see value in having a "music industry" to help aspiring young artists that may be very talented but cannot afford to self fund. That is not to say that some in the "music industry" were not very fair with artists.
 

goat76

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Yes, if they can afford to self-fund. Many examples in life though where the best artists cannot afford what they need to perform at their best. Many very gifted classical musicians for example cannot afford the instruments they play. A support network of some sort can thus be very beneficial, for both classical musicians to acquire instruments, and likewise for aspiring musicians in other genres to acquire top-notch recording engineers. As an example, The Mammas and Pappas were not only dead broke, but in debt, when they signed their first contract. I realize that was "back in the day" and things are a lot different now. But I still see value in having a "music industry" to help aspiring young artists that may be very talented but cannot afford to self fund. That is not to say that some in the "music industry" were not very fair with artists.

I agree, of course there are exceptions, but I do think you know without further explanation what I mean in general when I talk about the "music industry". :)
 

Jim Matthews

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To me the critical issue in hifi is the housing shortage creating a nation of affluent renters. Why spend money on hifi when you don't have a space you can listen in? Hence the popularity of headphones.

The Boston market has been overpriced for decades. That may be distorting the observation. I think (and have no verifiable way to test it)
the problem is generational. Younger people are fewer in number ( in relative terms) than at any prior point in the American census since 1918.

They're up to their elbows in debt, and face a job market that constantly shifts under their feet.

They already have capable audio in their cellphones - I expect many of them seek privacy outside the confines of their parent's homes, shared accommodations or small rental spaces.

Headphones are a rational choice.
 
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Jim Taylor

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I agree, of course there are exceptions, but I do think you know without further explanation what I mean in general when I talk about the "music industry". :)


I believe this thread has wandered away from the OP's original intent, no? I thought the OP was talking about hardware. Jim
 

goat76

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I believe this thread has wandered away from the OP's original intent, no? I thought the OP was talking about hardware. Jim

Yes, the thread is about hardware but a few people started talking about the music business, and some of us drifted away a little. :)

To the hardware...
I think the HiFi business will get even smaller in the future, BUT I cross my fingers that the recent development with the higher sound quality all the streaming platforms now offer will inspire at least some people to go out investing in better sounding hardware, but that feels somewhat like a long shot.

The other thing I hope for is that IKEA keeps on doing what they do now with their sheep but fairly good sounding loudspeakers. With a giant like them entering the "HiFi" market, there's a chance they start a trend where people, in general, in the long run, want better-sounding products. The key is speakers that can be placed out of sight and blend into a normal home, it's highly unlikely two big fugly-looking tower speakers will get a place in a normal home in the future, no matter who's in charge of the household.
 

valerianf

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"it's highly unlikely two big fugly-looking tower speakers will get a place in a normal home in the future, no matter who's in charge of the household."
That is sad
 

escksu

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"it's highly unlikely two big fugly-looking tower speakers will get a place in a normal home in the future, no matter who's in charge of the household."
That is sad

No choice, thats life. Just like pple now shunt big fugly biege box PCs, which used to be a staple design for home PCs. Even gamers now require RGB for their PCs.

So the future is smaller and sleeker looking speakers and audio gear. Traditional designs will likely go the way of the dodo one fine day.
 

valerianf

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Now i understand, that is why I never connected the RGB functionality of my computer. Kkk.
 

kipman725

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The objective performance of typical hi-fi system with tower speakers pulled out into the room is poor in anything but a large treated room so I don't think its a great loss to explore form factors that take into account boundary loading. Sofit mount is standard in larger studios and a well designed on wall speaker should approach the performance of a sofit mount. Tower speakers are also larger than they should be as bass should be delegated to subwoofers, once bass is not required volume and frontal surface area is only required for pattern control in a domestic environment.
 

Wes

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tower speakers pulled out into the room...

where would you put them?
 
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