Opening Salvo

Better Living Through Music!

First of all, I want to give a huge thank you to our writers, Paul McGowan, Bill Leebens and a special acknowledgment to the wonderful Maggie McFalls for helping me get through the job of actually producing our first issue together. Whew!

Big news: at a November 8 press conference at the New York Audio Show, hi-res streaming service Qobuz announced it was eliminating its MP3 streaming tier and going to a lower $14.99 per month pricing plan that includes access to all hi-res and CD-quality streaming. The new Studio Premier plan is available to the first 100,000 subscribers and is $12.50 per month with a yearly plan. Qobuz’ Dan Mackta noted the service is adding 10,000 albums per day. The announcement follows on the heels of Amazon’s reveal of its own $14.99 plan ($12.99 for Prime members). More affordable hi-res streaming can only be a good thing, especially in bringing the pleasures of better-sounding music to more people.

Among this issue’s contents: Tom Gibbs looks at re-issues from the Stooges, the Stones, Miles and more. Woody Woodward tells a tale of haunted roads and the inimitable Bonzo Dog Band. Professor Larry Schenbeck offers insight into Russian composers Rachmaninov, Medtner and Prokofiev. Anne E. Johnson gives us an unflinching look at the Pogues and the work of Hildegard of Bingen, one of the most important composers of medieval sacred music.

J.I. Agnew provides an overview of the history of magnetic recording. Roy Hall has us salivating over culinary delights in Puerto Rico (well, maybe not if you’re a vegan). I contribute some thoughts on the recent Capital Audiofest 2019. Dan Schwartz tells a tale that may be familiar to more than a few of us, about having a great-sounding system…and then changing it.

Frank