Reliability of HiFi gear: rant ahoy

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Oxfordian

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Perhaps the free version needs to go and make everyone pay for it, to increase profits. This might be unpopular at first, but a small fee for listening could work. This needs to coincide with the introduction of a HIFI tier. I pay £10.99 a month and it's on 12 or 13 hours a day sometimes. The AI DJ feature is great and has given me loads of music I wouldn't think of searching for. IF the HIFI tier turns up, I would gladly pay £19.99 a month to play all the tunes I play now, but in certified CD quality. Buying and storing these tunes on CD is not practical, or affordable. As I mentioned in another thread, the streaming amp sector can only grow and will kill CD and vinyl, eventually. Might take 5 to 10 years, but this technology is becoming more popular, with fantastic designs and features. Reliability will also improve and there will be streamers in portable devices and headphones very soon. Devices which don't spin, or have any moving parts will always last longer than those with wheels and motors etc. Look at the Rose RS520 and the Eversolo stuff. It's amazing kit you could never imagine 20 years ago.
There are limits to tech and what people want, if you look at phone technology it has basically stagnated over the last few years, sure there are some improvements but it mainly surrounds battery life and a greater reliance on Ai in the photo and video apps, people now are no longer changing their phones every time their contract runs out but hanging onto their phones for 4,5 or more years before changing.

In photography new cameras appear with a set of updated features fairly regularly but do they have any major technological advances, no. Since the introduction of mirrorless cameras the advance in technology has slowed dramatically, yes there are more pixels and they can take more pictures per second but otherwise tech improvements are not the huge steps they once were.

I'm not sure that the fantastic designs and features you mention are going to be the lifeblood of the streaming world, in many respects look at the mobile phone from its initial conception through to where it is today, initially huge leaps in technology from release to release, then slowly those innovations have declined and we are as mentioned before where we are today, what is there for the mobile phone of tomorrow?

I can already stream Apple Music through my phone to a pair of headphones and if the headphones are of a good quality I can enjoy excellent sound quality on my commute, in the gym, walking the dog etc etc., all linked from my phone to my headphones. True the connection isn't the highest quality but for a good portion of the population this will be more than sufficient, if I am sat on the commuter train as it clanks and creaks it way into the city having ultimate sound quality isn't my priority, offsetting the mediocrity of the journey is.

What will tomorrow bring? Well I think that in many cases it is already here, a large portion of the population can and already do stream music in their homes via Alexa or equivalent and for these people what they get is more than sufficient, a few will want to improve their lot and will step up but not maybe to a full system but just to a better lifestyle system, they won't want separate speakers or if they do they will need to be wireless as they won't want the wires trailing.

I am a fan of a one box system and have an aging Ruark R4 which I can use for Radio, CD, Streaming via my phone, Streaming my ripped CD's from a USB device, I can add a WiiM Mini or Pro to the R4 and have it connected to my home net work and get streaming access as well, this type of system is going to be big business in the years ahead., far more people will be interested in these rather than a separates set up.

Anyway that's my 10p of thoughts for today, off to play some spinning silvery discs for a couple of hours.
 
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Many companies operate with little, or no profit. It's a modern capitalist business model and nobody seems to care. I think it's too big and popular to fail now. Some hedge fund will help them out, if they ever do struggle to keep going.
And that hedge fund will want big returns on their investment within a short space of time - and when they don’t get it, they’ll sell to whoever shows an interest, likely one of the other big players.
 

Stuart83

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Just combine it to a point that artists might at one point in time win a case and Spotify has to jack up the price in order to be able to pay out more, meaning users can unsubscribe over something like that and a service can hit rock bottom.



But a merger should remain at a threshold price level the ‘average’ consumer would still be ok with. If Spotify merges due to a success it is (obviously) positive news, but if it merges as a result of a downfall it might eventually take the other service down as well.

But there can be other reasons. I had Spotify on the PS3 and support stopped and the app does not work anymore (yes you can still stream something from a phone to the ps3 but there is no graphical user interface anymore, just a black screen). Spotify has the ability to leave stuff near being a brick over time. Nothing obligates them to support a streamer over a decade and nothing guarantees that as well.
Try SoundCloud the free version is nearly as good mostly royalty free, I must admit if I discover something I like I get the cd and upload to my phone as I go offline at times anyway.
Navigating SoundCloud is how Ive found many good artists I never knew existed
 
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twinkletoes

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And that hedge fund will want big returns on their investment within a short space of time - and when they don’t get it, they’ll sell to whoever shows an interest, likely one of the other big players.
its scary really how much money thats seemingly gone, they took 11 billion in revenue last year and still end up with huge net losses.

Id hazard a guess this is why we haven't seen there CD quality service come to fruition. they just plain can't afford to implement it.
 
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its scary really how much money thats seemingly gone, they took 11 billion in revenue last year and still end up with huge net losses.

Id hazard a guess this is why we haven't seen there CD quality service come to fruition. they just plain can't afford to implement it.
Even if they can afford to do it, they have to decide whether it’s worth moving forward and implementing it - is the whole streaming thing actually working? What lies ahead with regards to running the thing, keeping it up to date, paying artists enough (and fairly), maintaining licenses, and keeping subscriptions as high as possible but not high enough to start losing users on a large scale? I reckon the highest amount of users they have are using the free ad option - who wants to pay for music nowadays in any way shape or form? Only audiophiles and musicphiles.
 

podknocker

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Even if they can afford to do it, they have to decide whether it’s worth moving forward and implementing it - is the whole streaming thing actually working? What lies ahead with regards to running the thing, keeping it up to date, paying artists enough (and fairly), maintaining licenses, and keeping subscriptions as high as possible but not high enough to start losing users on a large scale? I reckon the highest amount of users they have are using the free ad option - who wants to pay for music nowadays in any way shape or form? Only audiophiles and musicphiles.
The people streaming music for free are not contributing to the artists at all and I think they should. Why would musicians produce music, as a career, if nobody is willing to pay for it?
 
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The people streaming music for free are not contributing to the artists at all and I think they should. Why would musicians produce music, as a career, if nobody is willing to pay for it?
When you say streaming for free do you mean / include playing "official videos" off Youtube ?
(like me plugging laptop into my system)

I always buy a CD copy of the music i like as i value owning a physical copy. I paid over £60 for an album i've hardly played because it sounds so much better when played via both Youtube and Bandcamp.

Most artists i like, however, dont actually release any physical media as they make their profit from live performances. They often charge nothing / offer a free download via Bandcamp.
 
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podknocker

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People listening to Spotify et al, for free, or watching Youtube videos don't do anything for most musicians. I think everyone should pay to stream music. The free versions are adding nothing to musician royalties and I do know it's not a great deal more with subscriptions, but would anyone else spend their time trying to earn a living and then get so little in return? I've already said I would pay more for a HIFI tier and hopefully, more of this could go to the artists.
 
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People listening to Spotify et al, for free, or watching Youtube videos don't do anything for most musicians. I think everyone should pay to stream music. The free versions are adding nothing to musician royalties and I do know it's not a great deal more with subscriptions, but would anyone else spend their time trying to earn a living and then get so little in return? I've already said I would pay more for a HIFI tier and hopefully, more of this could go to the artists.
Spotify still has to pay or that free stream, which they do so by creating revenue with ads. So the stream still produces revenue for the artist, it’s just covered by Spotify - and is that the Achilles heel of streaming platforms? Ad revenue has to cover the free streams used by non paying listeners who are upping the platform’s member and streaming stats? Is that safe moving forward? The ads HAVE to cover the freebies, otherwise it’s eating into any profit the platform is making. Maybe why they’re losing so much money, hoping it’ll “come good” one day.
 
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podknocker

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Perhaps making everyone pay for Spotify and remove ads? I don't know the figures, but surely everyone paying something would bring in more revenue than ads. I think many people ignore the ads and tolerate them. I can honestly say I've never fallen for the ads online, or a page an ad has redirected me to.
 
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daveh75

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People listening to Spotify et al, for free, or watching Youtube videos don't do anything for most musicians. I think everyone should pay to stream music. The free versions are adding nothing to musician royalties and I do know it's not a great deal more with subscriptions, but would anyone else spend their time trying to earn a living and then get so little in return? I've already said I would pay more for a HIFI tier and hopefully, more of this could go to the artists.

Thats not really true.

They're just contributing indirectly by being subjected to adverts.

As Netflix has shown by scrapping the cheapest ad free plan in favour of the ad supported plan, it can be more financially viable than the subscription model in certain circumstances.

Same goes with linear TV, the vast majority of channels are FTA, ad funded channels
 

podknocker

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I no longer pay for any. Im slowly dropping video streaming services too.
I cancelled Netflix, not because of the £1 increase, but due to huge amount of crap on there. I find more entertaining stuff on iplayer and All4 and the TV licence goes towards this. There cannot be a monopoly and the market does need healthy competition, but I'm surprised a big player, such as Sky or the BBC cant offer a complete entertainment package, where you can watch or listen to anything that's ever been recorded. I've never had Sky and won't ever consider it, unless they could satisfy all my media needs. A friend has Sky and along with the internet and TV licence and some other stuff, he paying £81 every month, to be able to experience all the stuff he's into. I think that's a lot and you can literally spend hundreds on entertainment each month.
 
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daveh75

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I cancelled Netflix, not because of the £1 increase, but due to huge amount of crap on there. I find more entertaining stuff on iplayer and All4 and the TV licence goes towards this.

Pod you're a contradiction personified at times!

C4 is ad funded, so by your logic you're not really contributing anything at all to those independent production companies who make all the entertaining stuff you enjoy.
 

podknocker

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C4 is ad funded, so by your logic you're not really contributing anything to all those independent production companies who make all the entertaining stuff you enjoy.
Exactly and that needs to change also. The reason TV and production companies disappear, like all the musicians eventually, is lack of funding. Ad revenue will not sustain this sector alone. Paying a modified TV licence, or 'media licence' and everyone gets a cut is more than possible. Compared to 20 years ago, the delivery of media is a totally different beast and if artists and musicians are to receive more funding and we can all still enjoy media, wherever it comes from, then we need a root and branch shakeup of this sector.
 
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Gray

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Perhaps making everyone pay for Spotify and remove ads? I don't know the figures, but surely everyone paying something would bring in more revenue than ads.
I'd guess that many of the Spotify free users are, like me, very occasional users.

If they started charging, then "goodbye Spotify", it's as simple as that.

As a free user I must be of some use to them - going by the number of times they've e-mailed me to tell me why I should be using it more.
 

podknocker

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I'd guess that many of the Spotify free users are, like me, very occasional users.

If they started charging, then "goodbye Spotify", it's as simple as that.

As a free user I must be of some use to them - going by the number of times they've e-mailed me to tell me why I should be using it more.
It's a tricky one. What's the amount they could charge, rather than have people listen for free and still charge enough through subscription, to still keep the number of users they currently have? We all have different needs, but if they sent me an email saying I could upgrade to a HIFI tier and pay £19.99 a month, I'd agree in an instant. I think it's good value, for reasons I've already mentioned. I seriously can't imagine ordering and paying for 200 CDs every week, to provide me with the tunes I enjoy on a daily basis. If a streaming service can provide a bit for bit copy of a CD, why buy CDs? If it's the same master, with good or bad DR, then it's the same. As I've mentioned, the AI DJ app on Spotify is brilliant. He/it will offer me tunes I like and similar ones and if I don't like a track, I can press next on my Omnia's remote and the Spotify Connect app will go to the next track. I couldn't go back to CDs now, but I think it's unfair royalty payments are so low. I do understand people wanting to pay musicians via CD sales, but that part of the market, along with vinyl I believe will become a much smaller slice of the pie, in 10 years probably.
 
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Oxfordian

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It's a tricky one. What's the amount they could charge, rather than have people listen for free and still charge enough through subscription, to still keep the number of users they currently have? We all have different needs, but if they sent me an email saying I could upgrade to a HIFI tier and pay £19.99 a month, I'd agree in an instant. I think it's good value, for reasons I've already mentioned. I seriously can't imagine ordering and paying for 200 CDs every week, to provide me with the tunes I enjoy on a daily basis. If a streaming service can provide a bit for bit copy of a CD, why buy CDs? If it's the same master, with good or bad DR, then it's the same. As I've mentioned, the AI DJ app on Spotify is brilliant. He/it will offer me tunes I like and similar ones and if I don't like a track, I can press next on my Omnia's remote and the Spotify Connect app will go to the next track. I couldn't go back to CDs now, but I think it's unfair royalty payments are so low. I do understand people wanting to pay musicians via CD sales, but that part of the market, along with vinyl I believe will become a much smaller slice of the pie, in 10 years probably.
I have just returned to Apple Music, for no other reason than I use the service to play music I am interested in then to decide whether I want a physical copy in some form, I tried doing this without paying but only got a few seconds of each track.

And it is this last part that could be the answer going forward for all streaming services, simply only allow a few seconds of each track to be played for someone who is not a paying account holder.

If streaming is going to survive long term they need to generate funds to pay the artists properly, provide a level of service that encourages people to stump up the monthly fee, if that means no freebies so be it, if you want a cheap plan then you get lots of adverts, if you want an ad free service then the price goes up, if you want a HD service then you pay a bit more and so on.

I don't see me ever giving up physical media, I'm not anti streaming I find it useful in certain situations but I like the tactility of physical things, I love wandering around a record store, flicking through the LP's new or used, the same with CD's, finding that something that triggers the urge to buy, getting home and listening to that purchase, discovering something new or maybe rediscovering something from my past, something that streaming cannot do this for me.

Streaming for me is a soulless medium, it doesn't create any involvement for me, it just plays tunes. Nothing wrong with that, it is just not my preferred way of listening.
 

podknocker

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I do understand the tactility of vinyl and CDs and people wanting the 'ritual' of handling the disc of choice and pressing play etc. For me, I just see this as a chore and really don't care anymore. It's the music that matters to me and having easy access to a vast amount of music is all I want. I've always loved CDs, but things move on and I've readily accepted streaming as the way forward for music. I keep saying it, but look at the Rose RS520 streamer. Plug it in and start playing all your favourite tunes within minutes and all you need is this (expensive) unit and a decent pair of speakers. A decent internet connection also helps. I still think it's strange people want the faff of a physical format, especially vinyl, but that's another rant for another thread!
 
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Gray

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I have just returned to Apple Music, for no other reason than I use the service to play music I am interested in then to decide whether I want a physical copy in some form, I tried doing this without paying but only got a few seconds of each track.

And it is this last part that could be the answer going forward for all streaming services, simply only allow a few seconds of each track to be played for someone who is not a paying account holder.

If streaming is going to survive long term they need to generate funds to pay the artists properly, provide a level of service that encourages people to stump up the monthly fee, if that means no freebies so be it, if you want a cheap plan then you get lots of adverts, if you want an ad free service then the price goes up, if you want a HD service then you pay a bit more and so on.

I don't see me ever giving up physical media, I'm not anti streaming I find it useful in certain situations but I like the tactility of physical things, I love wandering around a record store, flicking through the LP's new or used, the same with CD's, finding that something that triggers the urge to buy, getting home and listening to that purchase, discovering something new or maybe rediscovering something from my past, something that streaming cannot do this for me.

Streaming for me is a soulless medium, it doesn't create any involvement for me, it just plays tunes. Nothing wrong with that, it is just not my preferred way of listening.
Purely a guess on my part, but I'd say Spotify probably do alright out of the advertisers.
So they need (at least) the current numbers of ad listeners to attract the advertisers.

That's why they like the Free users.

Another guess - if they think they can charge current Free users - even as much as a fiver - and still inflict the ads on those people .....they might have another think coming.

In that case, I think the amount of ad listening would drop massively and they wouldn't want that.

As I mentioned, I've never paid Spotify a penny - yet they've effectively begged me to use the Free teir more than I do.
I think the Free users, far from being the parasites that some paint them as, might be doing everyone a favour.

You might get the odd stupid person happy to pay AND listen to the (horrendous) ads, but probably nowhere near enough.
 

Oxfordian

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I do understand the tactility of vinyl and CDs and people wanting the 'ritual' of handling the disc of choice and pressing play etc. For me, I just see this as a chore and really don't care anymore. It's the music that matters to me and having easy access to a vast amount of music is all I want. I've always loved CDs, but things move on and I've readily accepted streaming as the way forward for music. I keep saying it, but look at the Rose RS520 streamer. Plug it in and start playing all your favourite tunes within minutes and all you need is this (expensive) unit and a decent pair of speakers. A decent internet connection also helps. I still think it's strange people want the faff of a physical format, especially vinyl, but that's another rant for another thread!
Isn't it great that there is so much variety in what we listen to and how we choose to do it. Life would be so boring if we all liked the same.
 

podknocker

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I don't see non payers as parasites. Spotify offer a free service to entice people onto the platform, in the hope that a few of them will ditch the ads and pay for their music. I think most companies are doing this. If they are losing money, then the current business model is flawed and needs reassessing. I think a drop of £1 to make the premium package less then that psychological £10 would bring a few more back and again just give 'snobs' like me a really high quality and still broad choice of music with the HIFI tier at £19.99 and rethink the whole thing. Streaming, in some form, is here to stay. I have friends who don't care about music and it's just something in the car to pass an hour or two. I know people my age who are into music, but don't care about HIFI, possibly because they've never been exposed to quality kit, or it's just too much expense and/or too impractical to have around. I've been into music from being a kid. I've listened to most genres, on most formats and there is a point where you are satisfied with the quality, but then you want the convenience. It's been a natural progression for me. Cheap record player, cassettes, including Walkman, CD and now nearly CD quality online. Any track you want, instantly, in CD quality is incredible. The last generation could never imagine all the world's music at the double click of a mouse. I'm not saying people are Luddites, but what's not to like?
 
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