Originally Posted by syd123
I posted this at another audio forum. ..Curious to see what replies it gets here. Apologies to those who are seeing it for a second time..
I don't think many would disagree that high-end and mid-fi audio are in decline. My suggestions for saving them are as follows, I'd be interested in hearing yours.
It is, but not for the reasons often espoused by Robin Hood internet sites.
- High-end and mid-fi manufacturers need to start advertising in trendy music mags like Rolling Stone, Spin and perhaps even TV. If too expensive to do it alone, then create an advertising consortium and pool funds. For years now, Bose has been the only gear company out there advertising. ...And their message, which is (paraphrasing) "great sound comes from tiny packages" has gone completely uncontested! ..So it has sunk in. There needs to be a counter-point to this. ...Why not create ads showing cool kids listening to great music on REAL systems with floor-standing speakers? ..Show a turntable! The renewed interest in LP's plays right into this. ..Put the message out there that "real music lovers listen to music on real sound systems" rather than iPods and cube speakers. For way too long Bose has been the ONLY brand holding the microphone. ..Time for others to seize it.
So true. Many purchase Bose garb solely due to advertising, which is so ingrained that it's virtually impossible to counter on the sales floor. A program of regimented advertising by good brands can help counter this. It only needs to be a few good ones to make a difference. Imagine if Mac, for example, had the campaign Bose did. The audio world would thrive.
- Reach out to prominent artists for their help in keeping audio alive. ..Not easy i realize when most artists won't really get the connection b/w their survival and gear manufacturers. ..But it's true IMHO. ..Downloadable music (MP3's mostly) are killing music, and the reason MP3's sound okay to most kids is b/c they listen to their gear on Sound Docks, computers and iPods. ..It would be great if Jack White or Springsteen said during an interview, "Hey kids, ditch those crappy headphones and tiny speakers and go buy a big kick-ass pair of speakers and see what you're missing." ..Yes, even poorly-mixed and compressed rock music sounds sooo much better on big speakers. Yes, it's corny but it would help. Steve Van Zant (Springsteens guitarist) speaks very eloquently on his radio show about the decline of rock music, without ever talking about gear. I think he and others should talk about it's role in this decline.
B&W tries this, but it doesn't have enough reach. Their downloads are high-rez, but it's largely from people few have heard of. Problem here is, many artists you've mentioned (and others) have too great of an opinion of their own opinions, so you know their fees may be astronomical for a small return.
- Expensive cables and conditioners may have their place at specialty stores, but it hurts the hobby when they're pitched on the showroom floors of Best Buy and other big-box stores. When someone goes out to buy a modest $600 receiver/speaker system and is told - often by a person who is being incentivized by Monster Cable - that it will sound dull and lifeless without another $300 worth of special cables and a power conditioner, the B.S. siren goes off in their head. They then turn high-tail and run off to buy a Bose Radio or Sound Dock. I can appreciate that cables are highly profitable to the mfg. and retailer, but they're hurting our hobby. Again, not sure how to do this. Obviously, you can't outlaw it, but maybe some credible brands should at least try to to get the message across that a good system is 99.9% about good speakers and a suitable amplifier/ receiver.
What hurts the hobby is the venue in which these items are sold, not the items themselves. I can assure you no one in specialty environments laments the presence of these products. Doors are kept open because of them in many cases. BB tries to present these items because it used to be that no one other than specialty stores did. Customers viewed this as useful information; a key reason why they went to specialty environments. This has (like most everything else) been bastardized by kids working at big box stores, run by a mixture of rejects from specialty stores and managers that used to work for Toys r' Us. One can imagine the results. In fact, we can witness the results now, as many scoff at professional video calibration, given the ham-fisted handling of this service at BB. Tey get credit for making the service more widely known, but fumbled the ball at the 1 yard line by their approach and description of services. Typical.
- In it's marketing the audio industry should try to re-position recorded music as something that a family can enjoy together. ..iPods, computer systems, etc.. make music a solitary experience. If parents considered that by putting a nice system in their living room they may give their kids a reason to quit hanging out in their bedroom, perhaps it would help. ..Yes, kids will always want their own space, but downloaded music and iPods are putting more distance b/w kids and parents.
This is the toughest probably of all your ideas to implement. Not because it's a bad idea, but think of how busy most families are. Portability is essential for many to hear any music at all. This requires a music-loving parent to "teach" their kids about good music growing up, with the same emphasis shown when they read books to their kids. This has other benefits of course, but perhaps if the industry could reach out to magnet schools or something... Tough call there.
Fundamentally, most quality audio companies rely on skill on the sales floor over advertising to make sales. As this skill declines, and the internet does everything possible to discredit sales professionals and B&M stores in favor of ID and cheap cable outlets, a hard campaign of advertising makes tons of sense. Think of how clueless most Bose outlet store monkeys are, and look at the sales. They don't need to know anything other than how to turn the key on the front door to let the masses pour in.