Every year, the major record companies produce more miserable-sounding recordings. I'm not surprised by this. The labels know most folks listen to music with iTunes or streaming audio, and sound quality is a low priority for most music listeners. My weekend poll is ample proof of that.
Lyor Cohen, CEO of recorded music for the Warner Music Group, cares about sound, at least at home. He admitted, in so many words, to being an audiophile on the pages of the September 20 New York Times Sunday magazine. The media has been alerted! It's like learning that a fast-food bigwig is a wine snob.
Cohen was Run-DMC's road manager in the 1980s, and he now works with Jay-Z, Madonna, and the Beastie Boys. In the article, Cohen said his hi-fi is his "favorite possession." The Clearaudio turntable pictured in the article is a very high-end German model that "won a gold medal at a consumer technology convention a few years ago."
Cohen's producer friend Rick Rubin, who I know is a hard-core audiophile, turned the Warner exec onto good sound. Cohen even went so far as to say vinyl is his favorite music media. That's cool; I'm sure Warner's income from vinyl is infinitesimal, so it's especially nice to hear the man in charge say something such as that.
Yes, just because Warner's top guy is an audiophile doesn't mean his company makes good-sounding music, but at least the top guy is aware of good sound. He sounds like an interesting man.