Audiophiles & music-have you got it wrong?

This thread is partly inspired by comments on "would you refer this to all the interested parties" but also by general comments made on a regular basis.

Of course each person to their own, I do not advocate my views are the definitive ones and I do consider myself a music fan who takes an interest in high end equipment rather than being an out and out audiophile.
However despite some reservations about certain audiophile beliefs I don't come on these forums and say burn in it doesn't exist,interconnects are a rip off and exhibit little more than fine tuning etc.etc.
Because I don't feel I've explored these issues fully nor do I really wish to therefore my comments would be largely uninformed even if they are accurate from my point of view.
And yet some audiophiles seem to make constant negative remarks about the price and quality of music currently available-are they right?

First up the price of music-this is not to say greed doesn't exist within the record companies but are CD's really that expensive when we compare them to how much we spend on our equipment?
My collection is now worth close to double what my equipment is.
Am I nuts or do I have things in perspective?
I consider I am probably at the extreme end of things with regards buying music but aren't some of you at the other end of the extreme?

Is it the quality of the recordings that's an issue?
Ok-I can't say sometimes that recorings don't disappoint or indeed the fact that older CD's can be badly mastered.
However is it possible that some have attuned their ear to a level of perfection that only exists in a limited number of recordings?
Nothing wrong with that but should our hobby be about matching that ideal or should it be more like how I see/hear things-getting the best audio reproduction possible but accepting that recording will always be flawed or indeed subjective?
Is Robert Johnson any less powerful despite the primative nature of the recordings?

Finally there's no new good music.
I read that endlessly here on Audiogon.
And I ask one question-how do you know that?
Do you read about new music?
Have you the interest to search it out the way you tweak or try to perfect your system?
Do you know what's been remastered recently?

There is plenty of new music that is good but even ignoring the new stuff,there is an endless supply of music already existing that you've probably never heard.
Do you try to expand your tastes?
Does it even interest you to try?

If your relationship with this hobby is about the equipment then fine,that is as valid as any music lovers quest however please refrain from these glib criticisms if you haven't taken the time to make sure you know what you are talking about.

>>First up the price of music
Yes, this is an issue. As Sean said before & I agree - extreme greed is killing the music industry or what's left of it! Consider what it takes to actually phyiscally make a CD-ROM & what the price of music is. It's close to 1000% mark-up! Yes, the musicians need to be paid & people w/ special talents are always rewarded more than the avg. human being. But, there are 601 middle-men in the whole music distribution scheme who EACH need 100% profit!! How much greed is enough? In this, too much is not enough! Yes, the music industry does not exist as a charity or a not-for-profit organization. I agree & accept that. However, how much profit-gouging are they going to do before they think it is acceptable? As it stands today, it is totally unacceptable by me & by most of us.

>>Is it the quality of the recordings that's an issue?
Yes! For many recordings on digital medium this is an issue. If you are going to charge an astronomical price for music, atleast record it to the best of the medium's capability! In yester years, the recording industry was learning how to make CD recordings & so one can forgive the mistakes made there. However, over the years, thru the world-wide knowledge of this industry, recording houses have made leaps & bounds of progress in this domain. These days it does not take a rocket scientist to make an excellent recording. It should almost be a given that anyone in this field should be learned in the art of recording, mixing, mastering (I don't mean that the same person should be but it's entirely possible that it is). Using Digital Theory 101, it should be relatively easy to make an excellent digital medium recording. Is that we the users do not demand this from the recording houses? Is our collective population ill-educated such that the recording houses can feed us any crap & we swallow it? As a parallel example: how do you think that, say, Toyota has become the world-class car manuf. that it is today? They stumbled upon it? Ask a Japanese citizen what they *demand* from their automobile. It is clear that Toyota stepped up to that challenge. So, quality begins at home. So, maybe the masses should wizen up & demand better quality recordings for even mass music rather than accepting hot recordings with significant compression in the peaks.

>>Finally there's no new good music.
This is a very personal choice. I always felt that music (literature, art) always reflected the sign of the times. If you look thru history, this is clearly reflected. So, this line of reasoning seems to be validated emperically. Today's times seem to be vastly shallower than times gone by & the music reflects it. Many of us accept today's music. Fine by me. Many others complain that "there is no good music". Perhaps one should ask them what their definition of "good" is. For those that I personally polled, I found the answer all too close to mine - that there is no depth to the music or the lyrics as compared to yester years. Yes, I have & am expanding my music tastes. I think that I have come a long way in the last 2 years & I have a long way ahead of me. However, there is some genres of music that I cannot accept as music. Simple a matter of taste & personal opinion. It is as correct as the fellow standing next to me. It is very likely that people yearning for "good" music are yearning for times gone by. Looks like those times have gone by.....Today's information age has certainly diluted our objective of why we are alive (my opinion). Our music certainly reflects that.
Some nice replies on this thread.
Bombaywalla-nice post however a few points in response.

PRICE OF MUSIC-maybe music is overpriced but is it different from other products?Isn't our high end equipment vastly overpriced?
Not an excuse or justification of the view music is overpriced just a point.

QUALITY OF RECORDINGS-could you give some examples of new badly recorded music?
It's my view the production is a big part of the artists statement and if the band/singer produce badly recorded music it's because it doesn't feature as part of their statement.
Most new music I hear is very well recorded and suits the music,there is the odd band that obviously compress their music for some reason probably mass appeal on boom boxes etc.
I hear this a lot but don't hear too many examples with the exception of Santana and U2 recently.

NEW GOOD MUSIC-yes I agree, not everybody will like the more extreme descendants of popular forms and I can accept that easily.
My main point on this is that I believe many audiophiles are missing out on music they would like but don't take the time to find it,indeed it would seem searching out release and general music news doesn't feature strongly in their lives.
As Jeff points out above many don't have the time but some of them do then complain bitterly there is no good new music about.
That's my main point.
>>our high end equipment vastly overpriced?
Yes! Vastly overpriced! You won't get an argument from me re. this but just 'cuz equip. is over-priced doesn't mean that music should also be! Today the amount of high quality, good sounding, reasonably priced gear is at its highest. It's a trend that I don't see stopping anytime soon.

>>could you give some examples of new badly recorded music?
I'm mostly a vinyl person so I buy fewer CDs than yourself & most of you. However, I do have a fair amount of run-ins with bad recordings. Some examples:
"All That You Leave Behind" U2 - sibilance city (Grammy award for this!). It's a Dutch pressing that I got when I went home to Bombay. I can't listen to it at all but I really like almost every song.
"Brothers In Arms" Dire Straits - original CD. Compression in many of the tracks esp. in the title track. Heard it on my friend's system, which has a SET amp, and the compression wasn't as glaring. I think it's a tube vs. ss thing.
"Greatest Hits" Carlos Santana. This is a re-issue from some yrs back (red cover). Says that it uses 20-bit re-mastering. Was listening to Black Magic Woman w/ a friend. We both agreed that the recording was marginal. Fair amount of sibilance.
"Colour of My Love" Celine Dion. I beg forgivness! I bought this CD by mistake. I do not like her one bit but something got into me & I bought it! Her voice is strong but boy is it compressed! There are very few airy highs & there is a lot of opportunity for airy highs in her CDs.
These are few that come to mind right now.

>>My main point on this is that I believe many audiophiles >>are missing out on music they would like but don't take >>the time to find it,indeed it would seem searching out >>release and general music news doesn't feature strongly >>in their lives.
Very possibly true! However, there is so much trash out there that it maskes it very hard to wade thru all of that to get a few good releases. The effort:reward ratio is tilted the wrong way! Add to that that many audiophiles/music lovers have domestic responsibilities & the effort:reward ratio gets further tilted the wrong way. When I tell my neighbours & friends what music I listen to their eyes glaze over. They tell me that their parents & grand-parents listened to the artists I'm listening to! They cannot fathom how somebody can listen to this old music today. I've got to be listening to the "latest" music! The point is: the music industry is catering to the masses. Re-issues of "good" music is a 2nd priority & are fewer & far between. The smaller recording & manuf. labels have made it their mission to fill in this gap (for which I'm grateful) but their prices are sky-high! I can get 2-3 CDs for $100 from mail-order companies! Good grief! I recently got hold of a vinyl copy of "Brothers In Arms" Dire Straits. Original LP. Probably beats the pants of the $40 XRCD re-issue. I paid 1/10th for it!
Kind of off topic, But...I picked up Muddy Waters (folk singer) cd the other day. This remaster has caused me to order another Muddy Waters remaster. I've begun to explore more of this old stuff. While Muddy Waters was no stranger to me, I am finding many of the other artist's from his day are. Sound quality on this disc is very high and was a great surprise.

One issue no one has raised is whether there is a relationship between the level of ones "audiophillia" and the time one spends listening to individual recordings. In other words, the dollars I've spent on my system allow me to listen deeper into my music, and, consequently, I find I have played a given record, say, even more often as my stereo has been upgraded over the years. (Except when I first started out and only had a few to play, of course.) This has slowed down my purchasing of more recordings as I don't have the time to appreciate them all. Still, the quality of the artistic experience I enjoy has been enhanced as my stereo has been because I can connect better emotionally with what the musicians are doing.
The result of all this is that my music collection is relatively small compared to most of you, and its cost is exceeded by that of my system. However, this is not a matter of priorities.
As an aside, I'm basically a "tweak". I don't swap gear as much as optimize it by adjustments and accessories.