It’s tempting to compare what we do with other industries like cars, cameras, computers, or consumer electronics. Such comparisons bring questions.
How many industries are as fragmented as ours?
In most categories, you purchase complete products. Buy a car and you drive it home. A cell phone, computer, or a camera are pretty much good right out of the box. Even consumer electronics like radios, streaming products (think Sonos or Bose), and televisions, are purchase and play. That’s not so true for most of our companies.
In high-end audio, we mix and match. Our company, for example, supplies much of the chain but you still have to go elsewhere for speakers, cables, racks, room conditioning, etc.
Certainly, there are some companies in our field that do it all. Naim and Linn come to mind. But they are the exceptions, not the rule.
When hi-fi started, most companies did it all (think console stereo). Separates came later and we’ve been living with them ever since.
We’re working on changing that dynamic over time, but as I survey the field of our beloved industry, it just strikes me as odd how all this developed.