The following is a list of challenges facing high-performance audio and its ability to attract the next generation of music lovers.  If you have identified a challenge that is not listed below, please propose the challenge be added to the list through contact us.

Save The Stereo Project Challenges
Updated December 21, 2013

CHALLENGE #1: Awareness and Access

Most young music lovers have never experienced a high-performance audio system and are not aware of the lifestyle or benefits of home stereo system ownership.

Access to high-performance audio brands and components is limited as many home stereo stores have closed.  As a result, opportunities for the next generation of music lovers to discover the experience, lifestyle, and benefits of high-performance audio system ownership are literally few and far between.

CHALLENGE #2: The Device Revolution

Device Revolution
Over the past decade, computers, portable media players, smart phones, Bluetooth speakers, and other convenient one-box devices have all but replaced high-performance audio systems for the next generation of music lovers.  This cultural and technological sea change is a significant reason why most young music lovers are unaware of the high-performance audio experience.

Room Filling Sound (RFS) Products
Widely available room filling sound products like portable Bluetooth speakers and sound docks offer the next generation of music lovers a convenient home stereo replacement without the higher cost, space requirements, set-up complexity, and overall commitment of a high-performance audio system.

RFS Product Quality
The sound quality of room filling sound products, including Bluetooth speakers and sound docks, has improved to the point where some young would-be high-performance audio system owners feel satisfied with the sound quality offered by these products.

RFS Product Marketing
Through celebrity endorsements, culture-focused branding, aggressive use of social media, and traditional marketing and advertising, relatively new RFS product brands have emerged to dominate the youth market for consumer audio products.  Furthermore, these brands and their lifestyle headphones, Bluetooth speakers, and sound docks have captured the attention of the next generation of music lovers.

CHALLENGE #3: Physical Media is the Exception

Although the LP market has made a comeback in recent years, most young music lovers do not own physical media (CDs, SACDs, and LP records).  These music lovers either stream their music over the internet, or play their music as files on computers, portable media players, and smart phones.

CHALLENGE #4: Cost and Perceived Value

Cost and Value
In contrast with popular RFS products ($200-$500 for a complete solution), the cost and perceived value offered by high-performance audio systems, even among dedicated young music lovers, can be a significant challenge.

Challenge #5: Aesthetics and Space, Size and Weight

Aesthetics and Space
The aesthetics and space requirements of a high-performance audio set-up can be objectionable to the next generation of music lovers.

Weight and Size
Many young music lovers would consider the weight and size of some high-performance audio components to be excessive and intimidating to move.  For example, fifty pound amplifiers and hundred pound speakers are not uncommon.

Challenge #6: Spouse Acceptance Factor

Some spouses of next generation music lovers may object to the cost, value, aesthetics, room space requirements, weight, and size of a high-performance audio system.  Spouses may also have concerns about the potential hazards a high-performance audio system could present to children and pets.  These hazards include hot components, sharp edges, and stand-mounted speakers that can topple.

CHALLENGE #7: System Complexity

High-performance audio systems require what some next generation music lovers would consider a complex set-up.

Newbie Confusion
For newbies to high-fidelity stereo, the myriad of components available and the complexities of system matching and building can be confusing and/or intimidating.  Even for some dedicated audiophiles, the myriad of components available and the complexities of system matching and building can be confusing and/or intimidating.

CHALLENGE #8: Consumer Leisure Time Behavior at Home

People Do Not Sit and Listen To Music
Taken as a whole, the next generation of music lovers (and the general public) does not frequently sit and listen to music at home.

Multiple Screen Competition
High-performance audio must compete with multiple screens that often preoccupy consumer interest and time.  These screens include high-definition television, laptop computers, smart phones, and tablets.

CHALLENGE #9: Negative Press

The mainstream and high-performance audio press regularly publish articles and blogs describing the impending demise of the high-fidelity stereo community and marketplace.

CHALLENGE #10: Music’s Health Benefits Are Not Well Known

The remarkable and unique mental health, physical health, and wellness benefits of music are generally not well known by the next generation of music lovers.  For example, there’s extensive medical journal evidence that music helps with stress, depression, anxiety, hypertension, physical pain, and heart disease.  Recent research has even discovered music benefits for autism and Alzheimer’s.

If you have identified a challenge that is not listed, please propose that challenge be added to the list through contact us.

Feedback for Save The Stereo Project:

“I strongly support Save The Stereo Project and urge my fellow stereo industry friends to do the same.” - Gene Rubin, Gene Rubin Audio

“Finally, someone realized that we as an industry need to do something to prevent extinction.  Hope that influential industry members can/will pull together.” - Vade Forrester, Contributing Writer, The Absolute Sound

“I love the idea to promote, reach, and educate not just the audio lovers, but also to advance the appreciation of the music we try to reproduce.” - Ernie Fisher, Editor, The Inner Ear Magazine

"Bravo, Gordon. Your efforts to advocate for quality reproduction of music are sincerely appreciated." - Richard Schram, President, Parasound Products, Inc.

"We heartily agree with the Project. Young people are always surprised when they hear music through our Nola loudspeakers and associated electronics. "WOW!", they say, "I never thought it could be this good!" - Marilyn Marchisotto, VP/CFO, Accent/Nola Speakers

"I heartedly support Save The Stereo Project." - Bill Thalmann, President, Music Technology, Inc.

“This is just the thing needed to promote and encourage the next generation of high fidelity music listeners.” - Craig Sypnier, Owner, Audio Renaissance

“Great idea, I sincerely hope we all can get together spreading the word.  Listening to music is one of the greatest ways to decouple and relax, be it live or from a great music system.” - Peter B. Noerbaek, President, PBN Audio LLC - Montana Loudspeakers

“I wish Save The Stereo Project every success.” - Steve Daniels, President, The Sound Organisation

“High fidelity stereo enjoyment lives on through Save The Stereo Project!” - Adam Johnson, Madisound Speaker Components, Inc.

"Brilliant! The efforts of Save the Stereo Project are timely and much needed. We at Veloce Audio look forward to helping in any way we can." - Mark Conti, Managing Director, Veloce Audio

To read all of the industry and community feedback for Save The Stereo Project, check out the Feedback section.