Remember the days of the 12” single and those special dance remixes? Suppose digital music fans could experience something similar? Like the ability to highlight a specific vocalist in a song and -- at the touch of a button – combine this “stem” with all the other vocals to deliver the lyrics seamlessly. And all of this would be accomplished with the cooperation and support of the artist, and the publisher.
These and other advanced features are being now contemplated by the music industry, as part of a new “studio quality” Hi-Res Audio subscription streaming tier that is being is developed for today’s passionate digital music enthusiasts. And according to Marc Finer, senior director of DEG (Digital Entertainment Group) and the moderator of the CEDIA 2017 keynote Stream the Studio, exciting new experiences like these can provide a host of new opportunities for the CEDIA channel.
From Below Average to Beyond Audiophile
The DEG, which has helped launch a number of entertainment platforms dating back to DVD, believes that the current Hi-Res Audio initiative represents a crash course on the evolution of music. Vinyl gave way to CD, which in turn led to the more convenient iPod and a variety of other similar devices. The downside to this, of course, was diminished sound quality – mp3 downloads simply don’t satisfy audiophile listening.
Downloads now face a powerful new competitor in the digital space: subscription streaming services. And sound quality aside, paying a few bucks a month for instant access to an astonishing selection of music, complete with shareable playlists, is pretty tremendous.
Which brings us the next big step: Hi-Res Audio.
Streaming the Studio
“Given all that’s going on today, the music industry has come to realize two important points, states Finer. “First and foremost, you can now enjoy better sound -- in fact, studio-quality hi-res audio -- without sacrificing any convenience. Plus, the streaming music market, which has over 150 million users worldwide, has grown so rapidly, there are now a number of types of digital customers.”
In short, rather than a “one size fits all” approach, it’s become a very segmented music business which according to Finer “can provide the kind of listening experience and advanced user features that appeal to passionate music fans.”
Put Your Money Where the Logo Is
But what is Hi-Res Audio, anyway? Well, that’s where the DEG’s other mission comes into play: promoting standardization. And to help consumers know they’re consuming the Real Deal, two logo marks have been developed which signify true hi-res quality.
“The DEG brought together the Recording Academy P&E (Producers & Engineers) Wing, the RIAA, the major music companies, and the independent music association to create a definition for Hi-Res Music”, said Finer. “This included a Hi-Res Music logo mark that the RIAA administers which is used to identify the various websites and services that deliver hi-res music files.”
A second logo developed by the Japan Audio Society has also been promoted aggressively by both DEG and the Consumer Technology Association. It instantly identifies the more than 100 different types of devices that are Hi-Res Audio compatible.
“As the Hi-Res Audio initiative continues to evolve, we’re seeing more and more people join in this effort,” states Finer. “And a number of leading executives from across the industry will be at the CEDIA show to tell this story to the installers and integrators who will be attending our session.”
But the DEG’s biggest motivation is “enlightenment.” According to Finer, “The CEDIA channel needs to better understand the concept of consumer segmentation, particularly as it relates to music and the differences in usage requirements for each member of the family.”
Add to this the latest consumer research and technology developments that are shaping the music market at large and you have a jammed packed Keynote session. As Finer summarizes, “Providing CEDIA members this information is both critically important and empowering. It can enable them to become more successful and serve as a key contact between the customer and the industry.”
Stream the Studio™ Keynote Session
San Diego Convention Center, Ballroom 20A
Thursday, September 7, 2017
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Free to all CEDIA 2017 attendees Stream the Studio™ Keynote Session Participants
Russ H. Crupnick - Managing Partner, MusicWatch, Inc.
Marc Finer – Senior Directoe DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Mike Jbara - CEO, MQA Ltd.
Ty Roberts - Chief Technology Officer, Universal Music Group
Enno Vandermeer - Chief Executive Officer, Roon Labs
David Workman - CEO & President, ProSource