Health of audio?

Many articles and letters to the editor in audio magazines claim audio is in trouble, dying out with the geezer population, and must reinvent itself to survive. In particular, they assert audio needs to attract the “young.”

Yet, there are many on-line forums, review sites, etc., many of which are freneticly active. Many are heavily populated with college students and recently minted grads.

So, is there a disconnect and the writers know nothing of what they write? Is there a generational hole where only geezers and the youngish are active and they have missed this? Has the industry suceeded in attracting the 18 to 35 crowd and the problem is solved?

Funny you mention this - I’ve been commenting on similar since going to the Chicago Axpona show to meet Paul.

While at Axpona, I joked with a friend that we should do a drinking game where we took a shot whenever we saw someone that wasn’t old/white/fat combo (of which I’m dangerously close to fitting in perfectly). Granted, I was one of the first people in the door - as the day went on, that changed completely. I saw tight nit groups of Asian, and then Middle Eastern audiophiles show up as the day went on.

Then, closer to afternoon, I saw the younger guys show up - all looked fresh out of college, decently flush with cash (judging from their expensive and hip clothing), wore ironic or other audiophile insider T-shirts (e.g. Got Vinyl?), and had a very hot, very bored girlfriend in tow.

I see this new generation, being of the Instant Gratification/Digital Age, are portable/digital headphones listeners, and do some vinyl at home to prove they are hip to what’s good. Most are understanding that MP3s suck, but only lower resolution MP3s. I find that many of them feel that anything 320 is “just as good” and “indiscernible” from anything higher.

So yeah, there is a clear disconnect there. I think this new generation just does things completely differently, and lives in completely different ecosystem from the “traditional audiophile”.

Note: the next time I saw Paul was at an audio club meeting here in Chicago. I was by far the youngest guy in the room, and my fiance was the only chick there. All I needed was a hip T-shirt and I was set!