I'm writing this piece just before setting off for Frankfurt, and as you know, that's where most of the new gear we'll be seeing in the shops this year is launched. But there can be a world of difference between the time that products are 'launched' and the time they actually turn up in the shops and I know that end users, other manufacturers and dealers are all getting more than a little fed up with it.
Sometimes the delay is for a valid reason such as the unavailability of a special chip or some unexpected development problem, but more and more it seems that early product announcements are contrived simply to spoil the market for the competition until the new wonder box finally does become available. But perhaps it's now become the case of the manufacturer who cried wolf, because by the time their new product does hit the shops, someone else is promising something even better for even less money which leaves the consumer in a permanent state of paranoia and loath to part with any cash at all. What's worse is that some dealers actually advertise these products as being available and take people's deposits against orders when in reality, the first shipment may be months away.
I don't really know what the answer is apart from asking manufacturers to be a little more considerate towards both the public and their dealers who may end up with a shop full of the previous model they can't sell because the customer thinks the new one will arrive any day. No other industry seems to operate in such a cavalier way so isn't it time that the music industry tightened up its image and started playing fair?
Editorial by Paul White
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