Are You Ready for the Renaissance?

By Eric Schwartz
Published on: May 11, 2018

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I’m going to go out on a limb and make a pretty bold prediction. You better get ready for the Performance Audio Renaissance. That’s right, performance audio. I know, I know, everyone is moaning about the demise of the high end, but I’m here to tell you that a renaissance is about to take place. Why? Good question.

Let me turn the clock back 25 years. It’s 1993 and the internet isn’t the speed demon we know today. In fact, it was pre-historic compared to what we enjoy today. And in order to ‘stream’ music and/or store it on devices with minimal storage capacity, an audio compression format – MP3 – was created that used lossy data compression to encode data using inexact approximations and the partial discarding of data. In other words, the music you were listening to wasn’t what the artist recorded in the studio. It was an approximation. And some of it was partially discarded. Basically, it sucked.

Well, you can imagine that if the music being distributed sucked, why would anyone need to go out and buy expensive, performance audio products. Right? I mean, what’s the point? Garbage in, garbage out.

Fast forward to just a few years ago as newer streaming services started to appear on the horizon. Spotify, Tidal, Apple Tunes, etc. With the speed of today’s internet and storage capacity of phones, it really wasn’t that much of a reach for them to offer a premium service they could charge money for – lossless, hi-fidelity audio. And if you step back and think about how fast the internet will be in just a couple more years, there will be no reason at all not to stream the very highest fidelity for all music, movie and TV content.

And that will instantly put the fidelity back into hi-fidelity. Anyone listening to uncompressed, lossless music will see the value of investing in performance audio. Anyone will be able to hear the difference. From speakers to amplifiers to headphones to whatever – as in any other industry, performance will be part of the conversation. And, I predict, those audio companies poised to offer the good stuff will be at the leading edge of this renaissance.

So my advice is to get ready for a dramatic increase in performance audio sales. I don’t think manufacturers will just be able to get by with the latest in wireless technology and offering non-fidelity voice-activated speakers. I don’t think mono is going to cut it. I think demonstrable hi-fidelity is going to capture people’s imagination just like 4K video has. So get ready for the renaissance. Now.

Eric Schwartz

Eric Schwartz

After spending four decades as a publication executive in the consumer technology sector, Eric Schwartz launched his own company in 2018, Catapult Communications, offering brand awareness and sales strategies to strengthen clients' go-to-market offerings. Previously, he served as managing director and executive producer at NAPCO Media, president and founder of CarSound and AutoMedia magazines, and publisher of Video magazine.

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