Dead Audiophile Industry Walking? – The Fix

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Without new blood and reinvention, the audiophile industry will die out in the next 5-10 years. And most existing industry players either don’t get this or are dancing the night away on the Titanic waiting for the inevitable iceberg.

That’s the overarching theme of Jerry Del Colliano’s provocative article in in the wake of the 2012 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF).

Jerry pulls no punches on what it will take to get young people interested in becoming audiophiles and breathing new life – and a future – into the audiophile world.

Here’s the easy to follow PowerPoint version.

  • Generation Yers (kids in their early 20’s) are a larger demographic than either Gen Xers or Baby Boomers.
  • The good news? Music comes first with Gen Yers. They listen to more of it than Gen Xers or Baby Boomers.
  • They are short attention span, multitasking, social media loving, song skipping, next buzz seeking young people  that are awash in highly mobile music.
  • Although currently of limited means, their future earnings and spend will define the audio biz for decades to come.
  • Their sense of cool is different – traditional luxury goods (big, heavy & expensive) don’t appeal – tech does.
  • For the most part, they could give a shit about being “truthful to the music” (I know, that’s a harsh one to swallow for audiophiles).
  • So forget $20k+ audiophile gear – offer them something accessible and that they can realistically aspire to own.
  • The future is high-definition digital audio – CD’s are rapidly fading into irrelevancy and enough already with anachronistic vinyl (confusing growth rate with market share).
  • Gen Yers communicate differently and live immersed in social media. Make high end audio marketing more social or they’ll ignore you.
  • Gen Yers are unlikely to join up if audiophilia continues to come off as a cult-like fringe religion searching for some kind of audio truth.
  • Lose the aloof attitude and hard sell and demo what’s relevant to them – not to old fart audiophiles.

Jerry’s bottom line: the current audiophile business model is unsustainable. Plow some new ground and plant some new seeds. Or soon there won’t be anything to harvest

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