Originally Posted by ematcion
No one has mentioned that music no longer is viewed as something that should be done sitting down. In order to appreciate surround (or stereo) music, one has to sit down and be in the "sweet spot". Unfortunately, especially in the last decade, music has become audio wallpaper to vast majority of the consumers out there. Just witness the success of iPod/mp3 players. People don't care about minute nuances of surround mix; they want the music as background soundtrack to their lives.
Amen to that. As a life-long pro musician (guitarist/singer) I can attest to that. It is impossible to play louder than an American audience can talk. Live music is largely background in the USA, a "white noise" employed to soften the awkwardness of social interaction and inane conversation ("Hey baby, you come here often? I SAID DO YOU COME HERE OFTEN?"). It should be remembered that the U.S. invented the three-ring circus: the crowning insult to any act is to feature TWO OTHER acts performing with you simultaneously (the more is better syndrome).
As to being a "captive audience" in a car, it's not quite the same is it? There's the job of keeping the vehicle on the road, dodging other cars, engine noise, eating, making phone calls, reading, putting on makeup, shaving, worrying about the sales meeting, etc. etc.
The folks who don't listen don't know what they're missing. Give an entertainer your attention and he'll work his heart out for you. Sit down in a home theater, dim the lights, shut your mouth, open your ears, insert SACD/DVD-A and prepare to be transported. My wife and I take our listening time just as seriously as our viewing time.