While at AXPONA 2013 in Chicago, we attended the seminar, “Editors panel: Discussions on What Attracted Us and How To Attract A Younger Audience For The Future” with John Atkinson (Sr. Editor, Stereophile), Jason Serinus (Writer, Stereophile), Robert Harley (The Absolute Sound), Jonathan Valin (Sr. Editor, The Absolute Sound), and Ed Momkas (Writer, Dagogo). Scroll down below the picture to read a quick summary of the panel’s suggestions:
The Major Points:
Is the audio industry doing enough to spread awareness of good sound?
No. Right now there is no push to market outside of the industry. One solution may be for high-end to establish a trade association to help increase public awareness and marketing. High-end needs to be advertised on music sites and other related venues to expand it’s reach.
Currently it seems that the mainstream media doesn’t portray audio in a favorable light. It’s rarely covered in the news and when there is coverage, it is portrayed as a freak show. To make it an appealing “news story,” it must be sensationalized. The media takes the easy way out, which is to cover the one set of $100,000 speakers at a show, and call it extravagant and ridiculous.
Is there a way to write articles so that they are more appealing to a wider audience?
Not without other consequences. The trouble is that it is essential to have a niche. Having a specific niche creates a community. If you are too wide with your appeal then no one is interested. You will be more successful catering to your current audience than trying to expand so no one does.
Does high-end audio need a re-branding?
It seems like it. Calling it high-end as well as the sensationalized media coverage suggests that it is snobby and elitist. It seems to be all about how expensive the products are. However, in reality, high-end audio is more about intent than price. It’s the intent of getting that “live” sound. It is the intent of the designer to create something artful and high quality. Yes, that can cost a lot of money, but it stems from a genuine place of being passionate about music.
Where will high-end audio be in five years?
It’s tied to music which will never go away. Music is a renewable pleasure like food. You can constantly have a new experience with it, so it is here to stay. Portability and personal listening are emerging values so it is likely to focus on size and headphones Computer audio is more mature and easier. Higher resolution will become the norm instead of the exception with cheaper and bigger hard drives.
What do you think is the solution to this PR problem? What would you suggest as an alternative name for “high-end audio”? Comment below to add your thoughts.