Two comments on Jim's thoughts and the responses.
First, classical music sales are reported to be quite healthy. A fascinating
article on classical music and the web appeared in the New Yorker last year.
On sound quality, my own informal observations are that the audiophile
community has always been relatively small, i.e., a minor market force. I
think that there have been or are a number of web sources for
less-compressed, or non-compressed files, but demand is not mandating an
expansion of resources. Perhaps the sophistication of video sound systems
will create new markets for higher-fi. Somewhat related, it is heartening,
to me, to observe the success of the Met Opera's HiDef movie theater
But, looking at the long history of audio technology in the marketplace, I
think that you'll find that convenience more than fidelity drives the
market. Cylinder champions claim that that format sounds better than discs.
Yet double-sided flat things, easy to store, won that first (?) battle of
the formats. Portable radios, cassettes, CDs, ipods, and podcasts continue
the trend. Satellite radio lets you have it both ways, but most people just
aren't all that interested in the quality of the reproduction and listen on
regular auto and boom box speakers.
What can ARSC members do? Show their friends the difference, see that
original masters are properly preserved, and buy the good stuff, I guess.