- Apr 23, 2020
Agreed. Some of the emotional responses to the perceived misdeeds of writers and publications brings to mind the old quote, 'Competition in audiophilia (academia) is so vicious because the stakes are so small.' - Laurence J. PeterIn fact the Audio Industry is totally under capitalized as compared to almost every other luxury industry. If you look at the ability to advertise and promote the numbers are so miniscule as to be almost irrelevant. It may be the love and hobby of all on this site and all who read and watch videos however those numbers at most represent such a small portion of the population as to be statistically meaningless.
We once did a series of exit interviews around NYC at fine shops and restaurants to see what if any people new the names of high end audio brands and to be honest it was very funny. Virtually no one named anything that would be carried by a place like Lyric ( which is where i was and we did this exercise) . Think about this the whole world knows the names of almost every car, watch, clothing, appliance etc in the high end.
Audio basically not at all. Sad but true. Today we live in a branded world and the brands of audio have not yet ( being optimistic here) reached anywhere near these other luxury products.
What is the total circulation of all these publications worldwide?
I would guess that the gross revenue of the Honda dealers in the state of Washington would exceed the total of the entire US High End business easily.
Being an audiophile is a caveat emptor identity. Education is not free. Long before I was in the business, I kept files on reviewers whom I felt warranted it. The files established their tastes once I found them consistent. It's the same method in the wine business, wherein you find other professionals who share your palate, or at the very least have a definitive palate based upon which you can either investigate a vintage further or not.
For those writers/reviewers who do have a voice and the ability to put pen to paper, I have a hard time faulting their efforts which in some cases are Sisyphean if only in their sheer inevitable repetitiveness. To put down a thousand words, (and for some writers far more) a week on how you hear something would seem an anathema. This doesn't take into consideration the responsibility of fairness, since swapping things willy nilly in an out of a highly tuned system is bound to fail more than succeed. I always thought if I were a reviewer, I would need 6 or 7 systems to account for varying approaches. Anyway, I'm glad they're trying. I can't imagine how many of them make a living wage...and it's real work. Of course, some reviewers don't have very well considered systems, and some either as a result of not having a thoughtful sensical system or simply the sheer inability to stop bloviating, give inconsistent reviews. On the whole, those guys are pretty easy to recognize and avoid. (easier the more experience with different types of gear that you accrue.)
On a parallel tack : especially but not exclusively to our multi lingual global members, do you find reviews in other countries more reliable on the whole compared to those in the US and Canada? Perhaps more consistent or comprehensive in certain other spots? I translate certain publications and reviewers from abroad. Don't get me wrong I read North American writers too. Lastly, do you think that the reviewing structure of our publications effects the nature of our dealerships or vice versa? Personally, I've seen a cottage industry cropping up over the last 6 to 8 years, where smaller dealers are providing some good listens off of the beaten track of the name retailers...some of these sporting a more euro type of feel, i.e. emulating a living room instead of a highly treated room with 9 pairs of speakers around the walls.
If nothing else, there's evidence that there's more than enough room for everyone to find a comfortable venue that matches their taste and ideology. You may just have to drive or fly a fair distance.