Why Don't More People Love Audio?

Can anyone explain why high end audio seems to be forever stuck as a cottage industry? Why do my rich friends who absolutely have to have the BEST of everything and wouldn't be caught dead without expensive clothes, watch, car, home, furniture etc. settle for cheap mass produced components stuck away in a closet somewhere? I can hardly afford to go out to dinner, but I wouldn't dream of spending any less on audio or music.
I agree that exposure would have a positive effect on participation in enjoying high-end audio, but I think the estimate that at least 1/2 would convert upon hearing a very well set-up system is much too high, especially if your definition of "audiophile" is at all demanding. Certainly far fewer than 1/2 of the people that audition my system convert (or even sit through very many songs) - in fact the only person I've ever had get real interested was somebody who's already on the path. Maybe my system doesn't meet the criteria of exposure being discussed here, but I'd bet that it does, but in any case it's a pretty common theme that non-audiophiles who hear a nice system, even when they acknowledge awesome sound, don't show much interest in actually owning one.

That said, I've always agreed that exposure would do a lot to promote the higher-end industry. Put decent systems into CD stores with a sign saying "Displayed by .....". Repetitive exposure would quite possibly work a lot better than an individual session.

The reasons are, of course, manyfold with most of them outlined above. I remember in the 1970s I could go to high end audio stores and find all sorts of people, male and female, being turned on to the current good stuff. Not any longer. High end stores service the same customers over and over. However, we all have to face the fact that Americans are, in general, no longer interested in music. Just check out the FM airwaves in just about any major city, almost pure, "wear-dated" crap. What people want is noise with a cool looking boy or girl jumping around in the video. Does everyone realize all pop, rock, etc artists now have to be actors first and foremost? Do you think Britney Spears, N'Sync et al are on your TV constantly because they make good music? Lets all face it, there are no "new" Beatles, Hendrix, Miles, Coltrane, Joni Mitchell; not even a new Shawn Phillips, Tom Rush, or Fairport Convention, for Jeebies sake!! And please don't start telling us about all those "great new bands and singers". 90% of these new recordings are so over processed in the studio and mastering facilities that any sign of life is gone. Anyway, just an aside: One of my wife's students remodeled his house at a cost of $950,000.00. He had, as he puts it, "a state of the art sound sytem" installed in ceilings throughout. The "heart" of the awsome system is a Marantz receiver (retail, as he told me, $795.00) and a comparable CD player. The man doesn't know the brand of bad sounding wall and ceilings speakers installed, his interior designer did everything for him.
What's the audiophile gold standard? Perfect reproduction of live, unamplified acoustic music. Well, the last time most Americans heard live, unamplified acoustic music it was their high school marching band. With no standard to compare it to, how could a high-end system impress them? People who love music can listen to anything. Being an audiophile means caring about sound reproduction. You can love music too, and most of us do, but it's really a separate passion.
I think the ingrediants that make up an audiophile is more then just the love of music. I think you have to also love the gear, be pasionate, creative, and to be a little on the obsesive side. The love of music is a perfrence but being an audiophile is a hobby. I think that marketing and exposure would be very benificial to the hobby and would make it more of a status symbol. I dont think anyone here buys it for status and if it turned into that it would cheapen it. Then again if it was a status symbol maybe my favorite little hi fi store wouldnt have just gone out of business.

I also think that most people dont have the listening skills. When I hear a laugh track I always here the indivdual people laughing. When I walk into a crowded room I dont hear a group of people I hear a lot of individual conversations. If you listen you can even hear a conversation crystal clear from twenty five feet away in a crowded loud room. They talk louder because of the ambient noise level yet trained ears can "focus" on those particular sounds. Try it.

Someone here once compared fine audio to wine tasting. I think that is an excellent analogy. Being a wine counasour not only takes talent but you need a trained pallet to be good at it. Like most people cant tell a fine wine most people cant tell a great audio system because there ears arent trained well.