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Interview with Gilad Tiefenbrun, LINN Managing Director

2011-11-24 19:03:48] *** Call from Gilad Tiefenbrun ***

P&S: hi

Gilad Tiefenbrun: hi

P&S: How are you Gilad?

Gilad Tiefenbrun: I'm very well thanks!

Gilad Tiefenbrun: How are you?

P&S: Not too bad ,,, busy as usual!

P&S: The year started with a trip to Atlantic Records with Maeve O'Boyle. I can imagine that was just a great experience but what was your purpose there?

Gilad Tiefenbrun: I first met Craig Kallman, CEO of Atlantic Records, a couple of years back at a Linn event in New York.

He's a huge audiophile and owns a lot of Linn gear including several LP12s.

I was presenting Studio Masters played through Linn DS and he was blown away.

He spoke to me afterwards and said he wanted to take me out to dinner when he next came to "England"!

Gilad Tiefenbrun: A few months later we met up in London, in a trendy restaurant in Shoreditch.

I explained about Studio Master downloads, and how Linn had been making downloading work for the artists and customers for a few years already.

Immediately he had me on the phone, in the restaurant, to a number of senior execs from Warner Music Group, Atlantic's parent company.

Craig felt passionately that Warner should be moving faster to 24-bit downloads for the obvious sound benefits.

At the beginning of 2011, he arranged a get-together in Manhattan with me and all the senior people at Warner involved in their digital and distribution sides.

We discussed a strategy for 24-bit downloads for Warner, and the music industry in general.

P&S: Sorry to interrupt ... Was that the same guy you spoke of that when I was over in Glasgow, the guy from US that had the enormous record collection?

Gilad Tiefenbrun: Yes, that's him. His apartment is floor to ceiling vinyl, literally, all around. It's incredible.

But that's only a small part of his 300,000+ collection, all in mint condition.

Gilad Tiefenbrun: Now where was I...

So after that meeting, Craig and I hatched a plan to raise awareness of 24-bit with the key influencers in the music industry.

We set the date for May 2011, and we called it: "Hear Studio Master Live".

Basically, we recorded Maeve O'Boyle on the terrace of his Manhatten apartment at 24-bit, to an assembled audience of music industry execs, recording engineers and audiophile press.

Then we made an mp3 version.

Inside the apartment, we played to everyone the Studio Master recording of Maeve's performance, followed by the mp3.

People were blown away!

P&S: Great stuff ... I listened to Maeve'S 24 bit recording of her performance there … How did the event go from a business perspective … was it this that lead to the meeting with Neil young??

Gilad Tiefenbrun: It achieved its aim, which was to raise awareness of the power of 24-bit with a wide, influential group.

It was at the end of the night, after people had stayed late chatting about the implications of what they'd heard, that Craig took me aside and said: "I'd like to get you together with Neil."

I couldn't believe my ears! So I said: "Neil who?"

And he said; "Neil Young! Didn't you know that he's a committed audiophile who's been pushing 24-bit for some time now?"

Well I tried to put what he said out of my mind, because Neil Young is an absolute hero of mine.

I grew up listening to his records and playing his songs on guitar.

Any time I thought about the prospect of actually meeting him, I couldn't sleep!

It was at the end of June, when I was preparing to go to London, where we were putting on a live performance with Barb Jungr at the Royal Festival Hall, that the phone rang, it was Craig, and he said: "I need you to be at Neil's ranch on Monday."

So I packed a few more clothes in my bag than I was planning, and flew on from London to San Francisco.

P&S: Of course Neil Young has a ranch ... lol

Gilad Tiefenbrun: Broken Arrow Ranch.

P&S: With a studio?

Gilad Tiefenbrun: Oh yes. Serious studio.

P&S: Nice. I'm getting off track here so here is a Q I planned to ask later on but this leads nicely on to the development of Apple 'open sourcing' the ALAC (their format for 24 Bit) … do you know how or why that came about?

Gilad Tiefenbrun: I don't know for sure, but I have a strong suspicion that it's linked to these preceding events.

I discussed with Neil Young, the mechanism by which the Majors would release their back catalogues at 24-bit.

P&S: Sounds like some powerful industry people and of course Neil himself ... yes perhaps LINN (you) made some waves in US. back catalogue 24 Bit ... now you have my complete attention ...

Gilad Tiefenbrun: My understanding from that discussion was that the Majors view iTunes as an essential delivery platfrom for the 24-bit.

In which case, they would need to agree on a format that iTunes could work with. i.e. ALAC

Gilad Tiefenbrun: However, it's my belief that the Majors would not want the 24-bit content restricted to iTunes only.

It's waaaayyyy too big for that!

Which is why I think that the open-sourcing of ALAC would be a pre-condition of any deal to see the 24-bit back catalogue on iTunes.

It's a theory.

P&S: Sounds plausible! Do you believe that 24 Bit will be sold solely from downloads ... I guess like LINN do now? Does that mean Atlantic records for example may open a site?

Gilad Tiefenbrun: I think that the Majors want the maximum exposure for the 24-bit content.

Opening new download stores, with all the branding and marketing that implies, is likely not in their plans.

They will go with existing routes to market, in my view.

P&S: 'Route to market' an interesting one. bands market themselves these days with LIVE gigs ... almost their own sites could be a route to market?

Gilad Tiefenbrun: Potentially. No reason why not.

P&S: It would feel kind of nice logging onto Neil Youngs own site and purchasing his back catalogue in 24 Bit,,, or any other band for that matter! I'd long for the record store though ... is that where vinyl comes in?

Gilad Tiefenbrun: Vinyl's timeless. There's going to be record stores for as long as we still love going there and passing a few hours leafing through the wonderful racks.

P&S: Lets hope so ...

P&S: So the year started with allot of concentration for you on 24 Bit and ended with a huge product launch ,,, LINN DSM. WHat is this in your words and wahat does it mean for LINN?

Gilad Tiefenbrun: It means, simply, that Linn DSM makes anything you listen to at home sound better.

With the ability to listen to 24-bit music, and now to add 24-bit soundtracks over HDMI, the performance is amazing.

And you can connect anything to Linn DSM that you can think of...

Hard drive based music from a computer or NAS, internet radio, Spotify and other streaming services.

Then there's mobile, with interoperability for Apple's over-the-air streaming technology, meaning your friends can DJ straight from their mobile devices when they come to your house!

Add to that the Songcast App for PC and Mac that let's you use your Linn System as the soundcard for your computer. The technology is mind blowing.

But instead of technology complicating matters, as it has done for many people over the last decade, we're now seeing technology unify and simplify.

It's doing what it's supposed to do - making life easier and better.

Especially if you have made a big investment in a Linn System.

P&S: Been using it all day! Have TV in one room and playing Blue-ray and broadcasting the sound to every room. Likewise youtube! I mean to try DSM as my PA for a LIVE event. Combine an old analogue microphone pre-amp with DSM then Soncasting to multiple DS players so we have a balanced sound throughout the shop ... do you think that will work?

Gilad Tiefenbrun: It should. Give it a try! Let me know how it goes!

P&S: Perhaps a multiple of Klimax DSM can be synchronised in a stadium for LIVE gigs ... one big network with perfect sync! Wireless perhaps?

Gilad Tiefenbrun: You think BIG Martin!

P&S: You gotta! Ok I'm taking up lots of your time now .. last Question ... Do you think apple some day will be forced into becoming an open source company?

Gilad Tiefenbrun: I think companies have to delineate between what is core for their USP and what is not, and they should open source what is not.

Gilad Tiefenbrun: For Apple, it means they'd be unlikely to lose their control over anything that impacts their precious user experience.

But ALAC? Come on! It should have been open source from the start.

P&S: You are feeling quite happy about being an early follower of the ''Open World''? It seems to be the best choice ... so I'll twist the question. Do you think for market reasons apple will open up more?

Gilad Tiefenbrun: It's possible, but I don't think it's a priority for them at this time.

Apple's been great for Linn.

The iPad is the number one way to use Linn Systems these days. Using our Kinsky app.

Apple deserve praise for the things they do well.

But we should continue to demand more openness. For example, AirPlay needs to be open if it's to become a true standard.

And they have competition in Google's Android, which is sure to have an open version of AirPlay in the coming months.

We hope that Songcast can become the true standard.

Songcast is part of

and is open source.

P&S: I think so ... maybe the topic for our next interview? Big thanks for your time Gilad … really appreciate it … last question … what will LINN concentrate on in 2012 ,,, your 40th anniversary year!

Gilad Tiefenbrun: Another last question!

Making great sounding music, from the artists we record, all the way to the systems that deliver the highest possible quality in people's homes.

Gilad Tiefenbrun: We'll be kicking the 40th anniversary year off in style, with a live showcase of Linn talent at the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow. Watch this space...

P&S: Hopefully you provide a LIVE STREAM for our LINN DSM :) Big thanks ....big thanks for your products and keep up the good work!

Gilad Tiefenbrun: Thanks!

Gilad Tiefenbrun: Good luck with your blog!

P&S: Cheers ,,, and Happy New Year when it comes !!!

Gilad Tiefenbrun: And wishing Peoples & Schmidt and all your customers the very best for the New Year!


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