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AES Section Meeting Reports

Norwegian - February 17, 2011

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Summary

Egil Eide of the Norwegian and Nordic pro audio distributor Siv. Ing. Benum AS presented the new speakers from Genelec supplied with measurement microphone and accompanying software for room tune in.

Bjørn Aarseth of the Norwegian Broadcast Association, NRK gave a short overview of the technical sides of FLAC formats, he also gave a short briefing of the Loudness Recommendation EBU R128. "It tells how broadcasters can measure and normalise audio using Loudness meters instead of Peak Meters (PPMs) only, as is common practice nowadays". Aarseth also showed examples of music compressed to "death" arguing that modern mastering and broadcast transmission settings in many cases degraded the musicality of the music.

The key note speaker of the evening was the world renowned jazz pianist and composer Jens Chr. Bugge Wesseltoft. Bugge has set up the www.gubemusic.com distribution service for high resolution music where he presents his own work and other Norwegian artists as well as most of the ECM back catalogue in high resolution FLAC format with MP3 versions thrown in.

Bugge gave an interesting and for some chilling outlook on the landscape created by the key players in online music such as iTunes, Spotify and other similar services. These services have a huge catalogue, but in his view, niche musicians and composers will be hard pressed to make a living through these services.
In the old days of record shops there would be competent owners and personnel that often presented a much broader range of productions than the online services can highlight. One of many questions is, "where will the money go if it does not go to music producers". Fear is that less money will go into the music creation and more into other entertainment industries. The chilling part is that if only the very top end of musicians/composers can live off their music, then the audio professionals will be hard pressed to make a living working for them.
Bugges solution is similar to the specialist record store down town where the owner has focus on a few specific types of music drawing in customers interested in "his music". Also, in addition to expanded touring activities because the record now promote the tour and not the other way around; Bugge work with a Scandinavian Hi-Fi equipment reseller and the world famous Rainbow Studio to create special events. The shop promotes the events; customers get to attend a studio recording and mixing session at Rainbow and download the music in high resolution format the following day.

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