The Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing, in partnership with the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), is developing a Website that promotes enhanced consumer awareness of higher-quality sound for music. The Website, which is scheduled to go live in Q4 2012, will be called Quality Sound Matters, offering music consumers information about how they can enhance their enjoyment of their music by seeking out today’s higher-quality digital file formats and using listening and storage products that help retain the sound of the music as the artists and engineers intended.
The Website will help mark a turning point in the evolution of digital music technology from a time when convenience and ubiquity were primary factors in consumers' music technology choices, to a new era in which the pursuit of sonic quality becomes equally important.
CEA research shows that 34-percent of consumers consider themselves audio enthusiasts, and that 9 in 10 consumers say sound quality is the most important component of a quality audio experience. More than 70-percent of self-described audio enthusiasts report a willingness to pay extra for high quality audio electronics, and more than 60-percent are willing to pay for high quality content. As a Billboard magazine article from June 2011 states, we are "Back From the Audio Abyss" and there are compelling arguments that consumers are turning their attention to quality audio.
"We're now entering a time when consumers want to focus on the sonic quality of music, not just its convenience," states Maureen Droney, Senior Executive Director of the P&E Wing. "As music moved further into the domain of computers, handheld/mobile devices and software, manufacturers of consumer electronics products worked to create new systems that consumers would find valuable in their everyday lives, sometimes at the expense of fidelity. But with increased bandwidth and more readily available hard drive space, it is now possible to merge these conveniences with the world of high-resolution files. Producers, engineers and mixers have always made the most of digital audio's benefits, like improved signal-to-noise ratio and dynamic range, to make recordings that reflected what recording artists heard in the studio. Now those benefits are becoming available to consumers as well."
Droney also noted developments such as the growing popularity of premium headphones over the poor quality earbuds of the past and the embrace of multichannel music through a new generation of audiophile labels and Websites. "It's clear that we've turned a corner in how consumers want to experience their music," says Droney. "Now, that experience is going to include a far greater emphasis on sonic quality along with artistic quality. And we're happy to be able to join with the CEA in helping consumers find their way into this new expanding universe of music quality.