By Jack Sharkey, December 29, 2017
As we close out another exciting year my thoughts turn to where we all are, historically speaking.
When I got in last night I asked Google to turn on Christmas and up came all of our Christmas decorations, including the tree and that cheap plastic Santa Claus who has hung out in our kitchen every Christmas since before Bill Clinton was president. Bacherloring it this week while my wife visits family in faraway cold climes, I ran through the DVR for my list of entertainment options and came up with Ron Howard’s Eight Days A Week, his film on the Beatles’ touring years. I settled in front of the big flat-screen and the immersive sounds of our living room 5.2 system and then it dawned on me…
In the history of time, right now might be the best time ever to be a music fan.
According to Mrs. Bennett, my sixth-grade teacher, written history began around 3100 BCE. This means that of all the time I could have been alive since the dawn of history – approximately 5,114 years in my case – I was alive at the same time the Beatles, David Bowie, and the Rolling Stones began making music, and then got to experience all of the amazing music that came in the following decades.
Now, can it be argued that the best time to be a music fan was the Beatles at Shea Stadium, Hendrix at Monterey, Talking Heads at CBGB or Nirvana at the North Shore Surf Club? Or maybe Grandmaster Flash’s first Bronx shows? Of course, but the thing is, only a very few people got to experience those things first hand. Now all of us – regardless of age or circumstance – can get a feel for what those and thousands of other similar experiences were like.
Add to that the amazing explosion in technology we have all been a part of, and benefited from, and I consider all of us to be pretty fortunate. There is not an artist, song, or performance we cannot instantly access through the various available content channels, and much of that content is of a quality we could have only dreamt of even twenty years ago. Also, in spite of what people of a certain age (over thirty) may assert, there is an incredible amount of great new music being produced on a regular basis; all of the music that has been produced previously is now the template for new musicians to launch their own careers with. Think about the level of musicianship new musicians have to base their craft on. And now that we don’t have to rely on our local DJs to hit us with new music between counting payola and taking hits of whatever, we can seek out and find new and old music from anywhere on Earth – instantly.
Think about the advances you’ve been a part of and take a second to be totally psyched about your own place in history. Since I first talked my neighbors into letting me have their busted up television sets when I was fourteen I’ve been chasing technology and now my computer signs me in by looking at me, I can play multiple songs in multiple rooms at the same time and I can ask the little pod on my end table to turn up the heat. There are a lot more technological advances ahead for all of us, but right now, I can’t think of a better time to be a music fan (or to be someone who is too lazy to go around and manually turn on all of those Christmas decorations).
At KEF we’ve been a part of the technological vanguard in the audio industry since 1961 and we’re still learning and striving. To be a part of a company that is embracing the current explosion in entertainment technology while having weathered five decades of change and disruption is a unique and exhilarating ride and we’re all thrilled to be taking that ride with you.
So, Happy New Year to everyone and remember, today might just be the best day ever (certainly for music fans it is).
This humble speaker company had a pretty stellar 2017 so if you'll indulge me here are some recognitions we're very proud to have received this year.