HiFi is slowly but surely becoming more professional, brands and companies are growing into enterprises worldwide, many with serious stature and quality. Events and HiFi Shows are organized, Magazines published - in the "golden years" of audio mostly by men, who are now the iconic names and faces of our industry.
Much has changed in the last 20 years.
Audio and HiFi is becoming everyone's. At shows or in HiFi stores across the globe, we see more and more families with children, women listening in, enjoying and helping to decide on sound, quality and appearance of any purchases. We are getting women writers in HiFi magazines, with a fresh, different perspective on products - and with the familiar, special gift in listening to music.
Another very welcome - and very necessary - trend is the arrival of the next generation. At more and more well-known brands, we see new, young faces appear alongside the iconic 50+ /often 60+.../ figureheads, the founders, pioneers of audio.
Some companies are blessed with a natural succession - sons and daughters join, with fresh, new perspectives on the world, on the industry. They bring new knowledge and modern technologies, strengthening and advancing the traditional base. Family business is great, of course with challenges, and lots of benefits. Children growing up in audio, music, travel and busy work schedules get the "HiFi virus" at the kitchen table - with all the pros and cons.
Once they are in the business, it is an organic process to complement each other: experience, knowledge and new fresh ideas reinforce each other.
Even without family ties, we see this process happening. Young engineers, designers and production workers are bringing their new knowledge to the industry, and complemented by existing tradition and experience, the industry is coming up with surprising, exciting new innovations.
We just returned from Axpona, the largest U.S. Audio Show.
We enjoyed a fantastic atmosphere, crowds as usual, old and new faces, acquaintances and many, many young people. Both visitors and participants - and here we see the bridge that is so important. Rejuvenation and more women in our industry will bring younger visitors and more women as visitors at shows and events.
But also as music lovers and future owners of wonderful hi-fi products, to listen to music at home that "sounds like in a concert hall."