Gibson Guitar Admits It Broke the Law; Settles with DOJ to Avoid Criminal Prosecution

500px-Gibson_logo.svgGibson Guitar Corp., a manufacturer of musical instruments and significant shareholder in Onkyo Corp. and majority owner of Onkyo USA, has entered into a “Criminal Enforcement Agreement” with the U.S. Department of Justice settling matters and circumstances surrounding government allegations of their illegal purchase and importation of woods and materials protected by environmental regulations and laws. As part of their settlement, Gibson admits the government’s allegations are true, agrees to pay a penalty of $300,000, agrees to an additional “community service” payment of $50,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, implements a strict compliance program (approved by DOJ enforcers) to prevent future violations, and relinquishes claim to more than $260,000 worth of government-seized illegally imported materials. Continue reading

Did AudioXpert’s Launch Succeed in ‘Exceeding Expectations’ as Their Tag Line Promises?

Photo of Eli Harary, President of AudioXperts at Press Conference

Eli Harary, President

Last month, we reported on the pre-launch of a new brand…the rather boldly named AudioXperts – founded by well-known industry veteran, Eli Harary and the team of sales, marketing, engineering, and product specialists he assembled. This pre-launch announcement was then followed-up by an official launch at a press event in Manhattan on Tuesday of this week. For a lot of reasons, this was a notable event – not the least of which is that there are very few new companies launching in the current incredibly difficult industry environment. But this “birth of a brand” also – for a number of reasons – set a very high bar for expectations related to its launch, which drew a substantial press contingent.

Did AudioXperts live up to their “exceeding expectations” tag line?… Continue reading

Best Buy Founder Schulze Rounds Up the Old Gang for One Last Try

Graphic of Best Buy CowboysBloomberg News reported on Monday that the Best Buy Co. board of directors has received a letter with an offer from company founder and former chairman Richard Schulze to acquire all outstanding shares of the company stock and take it private. Schulze is said to have the support of at least two private equity companies and an investment bank that is confident it can arrange adequate financing. Schulze also says several former Best Buy executives are interested in joining him in the process of reinvigorating the company.

Analysts are skeptical… Continue reading

Grace Motif’s John Caldwell to Handle U.S. Sales for Indy Audio Labs’ Acurus & Aragon Brands

In an association that is somewhat unique in our industry, Indy Audio Labs, LLC, (IAL) the company that manufacturers the Acurus & Aragon high-end brands, has hired John Caldwell, founder and CEO of Grace Motif to handle sales for the IAL brands. Interestingly, they have awarded Caldwell the title of Vice President of Sales for IAL while he retains his title and functions at Grace Motif. Continue reading

3vNet Puts on a Fresh Face – Launches New Website

3vNet Logo3vNet – formerly Colorado vNet – has launched an all-new website putting a fresh face on the newly independent company’s Internet presence. The company, once part of Russound and with which it had an often troubled relationship, was purchased from Russound by its Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Mike Anderson in April of this year. Continue reading

Velodyne Hires Major Retail Executive to Guide their Direct-to-Consumer Model

Velodyne LogoVelodyne Acoustics, Inc. announced today that it has hired George Manlove – formerly of Vanns, Inc. – as its Vice President, Global Sales and Marketing. Manlove is a very high-profile executive best known for his 26-year tenure as President and CEO of Vann’s, Inc., a Montana-based traditional bricks-and-mortar and Internet retailer. Manlove also served as chairman of the Progressive Retailers Organization (PRO Group), a national retailer buying group. Continue reading

After 62 Years, New Jersey’s M. Rothman & Company Sold to Z. Reiss


M. Rothman & Co. Headquarters BuildingIn news that is likely yet another indicator of the depths of the struggles of the consumer electronics industry, M. Rothman & Company, Inc. – a large consumer electronics distributor based in Ramsey, New Jersey and a one-time powerhouse supplier of a wide variety of electronics and appliances for the entire New York Metropolitan marketplace, has been sold to Z. Reiss & Associates. While rumors have been circulating about Rothman for some weeks – we have only now been able to confirm the company is in fact been sold to another New York-based distributor. Continue reading

Does the Headphone Market Know No Bounds? MartinLogan Joins the Fun with New Earbuds

Photo of Martin Logan's New Mikros 70 In-Ear HeadphonesMartinLogan, well-known in the high-end audio community as a manufacturer of large, expensive electrostatic line source loudspeakers, announced this week that it is entering the headphone market with a new in-ear headphone called the Mikros 70. According to MartinLogan, these in-ear headphones were designed by their engineering team – presumably as compared to other companies who buy off-the-shelf from China and stamp their logos on them.

If its MartinLogan, you know it must be different…and it is… Continue reading

Onkyo Jumps Into Streaming

Onkyo announced on Tuesday that they have jumped into streaming big time by upgrading their iOS and Android apps to add high-quality streaming capability via a wireless network to Onkyo network receivers. The company has also announced a Bluetooth USB adapter that allows any Bluetooth enabled device to stream to the consumer’s Onkyo network receiver.

But Onkyo didn’t just add “plain vanilla” streaming, they added quality streaming… Continue reading

June Housing Starts are Up Again, Is it Time for the ‘R’ Word Yet?

The Commerce Department released today new housing starts data for the month of June, and we may be close to using that long sought after “R” word – Recovery. Largely positive  – housing starts overall for June reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 760,000 units or 6.9% over May’s revised rate of 711,000 units. Still, the picture for single-family starts – an economic driver for our industry – while still positive, is a little more moderate.

Can housing now be a bright spot in an otherwise cooling economy? Continue reading