INDUSTRY & PRODUCT NEWS

Genelec Announces "The Ones" Series of Compact Coaxial Active Monitors
Genelec introduced its new-generation studio monitors, basically taking everything that was done for the existing 8351 model and creating a complete range with three sizes. The 8351 is now joined by the smaller 8341 and 8331 monitors. The new series is called "The Ones" because Genelec believes they offer the Ultimate Point Source monitoring solution. According to Genelec's R&D Director, Aki Mákivirta, it was a long effort to achieve the exact same design precision in the two new monitor sizes Read More


B&C Speakers Launches New 18DS115 18" Subwoofer
Displayed at the recent Prolight+Sound 2017 show in Frankfurt, B&C Speakers has added its new 18DS115 subwoofer to its portfolio. According to the Italian pro audio speaker company, the new 18" driver is an evolution of what has been possible in all key parameters, mainly due to its new four-layer aluminum voice coil, providing more energy in the gap, higher sensitivity, lower distortion, and better overall performance.   Read More


Let the Music Play! Industry Gets Ready for 2017 High End Show in Munich
The High End show 2017 will be the largest and most vibrant ever! The annual Munich event promoted by the High End Society is the world's meeting place for the high-end audio industry, including emerging consumer audio technologies and personal audio. From May 18 to 21, 2017, the world's biggest consumer audio fair will open its doors at the MOC site in Munich. The 36th edition will once again feature the Headphone Bar and many other attractions.   Read More


B&O PLAY Makes Speakers Truly Smart and Portable with Beoplay P2
There's nothing worse than listening to music with smartphone speakers, but lifestyle brands know this is happening more and more. B&O PLAY designed a simple but smart speaker for those communion moments, with the tiny Beoplay P2. Users can simply double tap on the anodized aluminum grill to play or pause music, or shake to skip tracks. Beoplay P2 easily slips into a bag or pocket to take anywhere and is much better than smartphone speakers.    Read More
 

Sennheiser Introduces HDV 820 Fully Balanced Headphone Amplifier
At the Tokyo Headphone Festival, held from April 29-30, 2017, Sennheiser showcased the latest product in its high-end enthusiast range: the fully balanced headphone amplifier HDV 820. Building on the accomplishments of Sennheiser's first digital headphone amplifier, the acclaimed HDVD 800, the German company has designed the HDV 820 to complement its electronics with an enhanced, higher resolution and ultra-low distortion option that perfectly complements its high-end headphonesRead More


Jabra Designs Evolve 75 Wireless Headset for Modern Office Use
With the headphone and personal audio industry booming, there is a growing opportunity for solutions that are also adapted to modern working environments. Designed to support concentration in the open office, the Jabra Evolve 75 manages office sounds and interruptions with a unique combination of features including Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and an integrated "do not disturb" light on both ear cups.  Read More



Electrocompaniet Signals New Expansion Stage with Appointment of New CEO at US Subsidiary
Electrocompaniet AS announced that Peter Wellikoff has been appointed as CEO for Electrocompaniet Inc., the US subsidiary of the famous Norwegian company, as of May 1, 2017. Peter Wellikoff is a well-respected industry veteran with more than 45 years of experience highlighted by 14 years as COO of the B&W Group, followed by six years as CEO of Meridian/Sooloos. He has numerous industry achievements and awards.   Read More


DPA Microphones Introduces d:vice Mobile Digital Audio Interface
DPA Microphones introduced a new two-channel microphone preamp and A/D converter, enabling the use of the brand's extensive range of professional microphones with an iOS device, a Mac, or a PC. According to DPA, the new d:vice MMA-A Digital Audio Interface and preamp allows both broadcasting or recording in the field, offering superior audio quality in a convenient, portable design.   Read More


SAR Insight & Consulting Publishes "The Voice Algorithm Software Ecosystem Market Report"
According to the latest report from SAR Insight & Consulting, strong growth is expected for all voice software, driven by its inclusion in increasing numbers of voice-enabled devices and by the increased use of digital assistants. "SAR has repeatedly discussed the scale and opportunity of the voice tech market," says Peter Cooney, principal analyst at SAR. "Voice will be the main interface technology for many devices and the opportunities for hardware and software vendors will be huge."   Read More


PCB Piezotronics Introduces New Phantom Powered Preamplifier Design for Audio Measurements
A new, patent-pending, universal preamplifier from PCB Piezotronics, reduces project costs by enabling users to interchange multiple test microphone cartridges to meet unique testing requirements. Model 426A14 adapts to any IEC 61094-4 compliant, pre-polarized microphone for use in loudspeaker design, microphone and amplifier modeling, and live sound or high-definition recording applications.   Read More



                             



João
Martins
Editor-in-Chief




Editor's Desk


From Ownership to Access: The Music Streaming Future

Following the latest report from The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the organization that represents the interests of the recording industry worldwide, it becomes clear that music - the thing that interests us the most - has just reached an historical inflexion. One of the most dramatic in its history. According to the latest IFPI Global Music Report 2017, streaming has passed a crucial milestone. It now makes up the majority of digital revenue, which, in turn, now accounts for 50% of total recorded music revenues.
 
Most importantly, global recorded music revenue has increased by 5.9% in 2016 (the fastest rate of growth since IFPI began tracking the market in 1997) and that this is mostly due to the 112 million users of paid streaming subscriptions, driving streaming revenue growth of 60.4%. As the report highlights, this was a second consecutive year of global growth for the recording industry, with revenue increasing in most markets. "This growth, however, should be viewed in the context of the industry losing nearly 40% of its revenues in the preceding 15 years," the report notes.
 
The global recorded music market grew by 5.9% in 2016. Total revenues for 2016 were US$15.7 billion. Digital revenue growth was +17.7%. Physical format revenue is down -7.6% and downloads are down -20.5%.

As Frances Moore, IFPI CEO, writes in this latest industry report, "The global recording industry is seeing modest growth after more than a decade of significant decline. Years of investment and innovation have begun to reward an industry that has shifted from adapting to the digital age, to driving it.  The story of the recorded music industry over the last two decades is one of transformation: from physical to digital; downloads to streaming; ownership to access."
 
Streaming revenue growth for 2016 was +60.4%. The IFPI's report, formerly called "Recording Industry in Numbers", contains comprehensive data for nearly 50 territories and in-depth analysis by format and sector.
Moore also notes that "while physical sales remain significant in certain territories and for certain artists, there is no doubt that streaming is the key driver of growth, with the number of users of paid subscriptions having broken the 100 million mark and continuing to rise. Fans are engaged with music in an amazing variety of formats, from the vinyl revival to the phenomenon of musical.ly, but the growth story is centered on services which are widening streaming's demographic appeal."  More importantly, the IFPI states that "If the digital market continues to grow, so too will the overall level of remuneration to artists, as will the levels of overall investment required to create new music whilst helping to drive digital innovation."
 
At the end of 2016 there were 112 million users of paid music streaming subscriptions. Growth in streaming services more than offset a 20.5% decline in downloads and a 7.6% decline in physical media revenue. And this is not just happening in the US or Europe. Streaming is growing even faster in China (+20.3%), India (+26.2%), Mexico (+23.6%), and many other major markets, where consumers have access to more than 40 million tracks across hundreds of services.
 
From a different source, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the latest 2016 report, specific to the US, details a more significant shift, with 22.6 million paid streaming subscriptions, surpassing revenues for all other music formats, and generating the majority of industry revenues for the first time. In the US, overall retail revenues grew 11.4% to $7.7 billion, and the industry is experiencing the strongest growth since the late 1990s, more than doubling the number of paid subscriptions in 2016 (9 million in 2015). This was clearly the result of revenue growth from subscription services like Apple Music, Spotify (paid), and TIDAL.
In 2016, for the first time, streaming music platforms generated the majority of the US music industry's revenues.
 
Both the IFPI and the RIAA are quick to point out that this transition could be even more positive for the recording industry as a whole. According to Nielsen, there were an astounding 209 billion on-demand music streams, just in the first half of 2016. Both organizations note that user upload video streaming services, such as Youtube, "benefitting from the misapplication of 'safe harbours,' comprise the world's largest on-demand music audience, conservatively estimated at more than 900 million users. Both strongly criticize services like YouTube for not translating its massive services into fair compensation for music creators. According to the IFPI, the revenue returning to rights holders through these services in 2016 amounted to US$553 million. "By contrast, a much smaller user base of 212 million users of audio subscription services (both paid and ad-supported), that have negotiated licenses on fair terms, contributed more than US$3.9 billion," they state.
 
Looking at this from the perspective of streaming service providers, like Spotify - which is also the target for criticism from the IFPI and RIAA because of its "free" ad-funded tier service - the trend is confirmed to have a large impact on a global scale, including those territories where music sharing and piracy were taking a larger toll on the recording industry. Spotify continues to aggressively negotiate licensing agreements with content providers and has recently confirmed a multi-year global license agreement with Merlin, the world's leading organization representing independent record labels.
Merlin represents 12% of the digital recorded music market and represents more than 20,000 independent record labels and distributors from 51 countries, and is often referred to as "the virtual fourth major," after Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group.
 
Total revenues from streaming platforms were up 68% to $3.9 billion. Streaming grew from just 9% of the market in 2011 to 51% of total industry revenues in 2016.
According to Merlin CEO Charles Caldas, streaming is now the primary source of digital revenue for almost half (46%) of its members, with digital music consumption providing a global scale to their business. For the independent labels, downloads are down significantly, and video-streaming platforms such as YouTube account for less than 10% of overall digital revenues. "Over successive years we have seen audio streaming revenues surge for the vast majority, and it is particularly heartening to see members capitalize on consumer demand in new or previously untapped international markets. The digital business is a global business, and Merlin members are at the heart of it," states Caldas.
 
Licensing agreements allow Spotify to not only expand its repertoire but, most importantly, offer enhanced access to data. In fact, Spotify has been aggressively acquiring new companies to expand the technology needed to manage its growing number of subscribers, introduce new services and, above all, perfect digital rights payments. Spotify, the leading global music streaming service, is now available in more than 60 markets globally with more than 100 million active users, and more than 50 million paying subscribers.
 
In a recent statement, Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, said, "Eight years ago, when streaming was a welcome but small source of revenue, UMG embraced partners like Spotify as a way to help return music to a vibrant future benefitting the entire ecosystem. Working hand in hand with these digital services brought us the industry's first real growth in nearly two decades. Today, streaming represents the majority of the business." Clearly, there's no going back.


Practical Test & Measurement
Sound Cards for Data Acquisition in Audio Measurements (Part 4)
By Stuart Yaniger
 
Stuart Yaniger continues to look at some of the available options and methods to create a low-cost system for lab-grade audio electronics measurements. After looking at the basic hardware and software aspects of using computer sound cards for audio measurements, the series provided an overview starting with the computer before moving on to the sound card, and some of the software options. In this fourth article, Yaniger considers "the crucial part where the metaphorical rubber meets the road - the interface to the device under test (DUT) that you want to characterize (e.g., an amplifier, a phono cartridge, a CD player, or a loudspeaker)." This is the critical part where we get the sound card to talk to the Device Under Test (DUT) and vice-versa. As Yaniger explains, "The sound card will likely have an input impedance of 10 kΩ or so. It will also have an input and output voltage capability of 2 V or so. The former means that measurement of any circuit with a moderate or high impedance will be loaded down by the sound card (and the cable connecting it to the sound card) and give inaccurate values. The latter means that low-voltage measurements will be compromised by noise, high voltage measurements will overload the inputs and potentially damage the sound card, and low impedance loads or loads that require significant voltage drive will cause the sound card to prematurely stop working." Read on. This article was originally published in audioXpress, September 2015.   Read the Full Article Now Available Here

Voice  Coil Test Bench
Fountek NeoX 3.0 Ribbon Tweeter 
By Vance Dickason
 
The transducer I characterized in this Test Bench is a high-end ribbon tweeter from a Shanghai, China-based company, Fountek Electronics Co., Ltd. New to Voice Coil's Test Bench, Fountek is a dedicated high-end manufacturer of both high-end transducers (woofers, midbass drivers, full-range drivers, and ribbons), powered and passive speakers, and high-end MOSFET and tube amplifiers, including a KT-88-based, 80 W stereo amplifier! Fountek was founded in April 2003 with a mission statement to supply strictly high-end two-channel products. The company released its first ribbon transducer, the JP3.0, in June 2003, followed by its JP2.0 ribbon transducer in October 2003, and its NeoPro5i released in October 2004. Fountek sent its new third-generation ribbon tweeter, the NeoX 3.0. The NeoX 3.0 utilizes an 80 mm × 12 mm × 0.15 mm thick reinforced sandwich (960 mm2 radiating area). The NeoX 3.0 uses a closed-back injection-molded rear cavity with two aluminum heatsinks and a built-in transformer. Other features for this design include the neodymium motor system, a cosmetically attractive 144 mm × 69.5 mm brushed aluminum faceplate, a black mesh screen protecting the diaphragm, and a pair of bolt-on type terminals. This article was published originally in Voice Coil, July 2016.   Read the Full Article Online

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