I have heard this (let's call it a theory) on two occasions from those in the industry.
Well G-Rex, it's not surprising that someone "in the industry" would come up with defensive speculations and justifying rationalizations to go on doing what they do. I really don't mean that cynically. It's a common and sincere human response when someones world view and financial interests are being challenged. Now, why you would find this particular theory (about negative shills to discourage, for example, premium cable spending) more plausible than the opposite is what I find more interesting. That is, your apparent finding of greater plausibility in the glib and seemingly substantive, but less-than-rigorously derived explanations in support of their cable products. Which they have a direct financial interest in promoting
. The cause and effect is much more clear here.
On the other hand, the "theory" about negative shills who exist to discourage premium cable spending is a lot more tenuous of a connection. Spending less on one aspect of the audio system doesn't automatically equate to more money spent on another. People will just as likely or possibly more likely save that extra money not spent on "premium" cables instead of spending it at all. Or instead, use that extra money for other discretionary pursuits outside of audio.
Furthermore, if I owned say, an audio speaker company, and I was going to pay someone to do as your "in the industry" contacts suggest, I better damn well know that the money spent to discourage spending more on another branch of audio (i.e., cables), is all being spent on my branch AND more importantly, my
But there is no way to know that they will, is there? Sounds like a dumb way to attempt to promote spending on my products given the imprecisely causal method involved.
Your industry person or persons theory is an extreme reach, at best.