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Black Friday on my mind

  • Thanksgiving isn’t a public holiday here in Europe – so what’s for dinner? Same as the other 364 days of the year. Look at the DAR menu: our op-ed ‘think’ pieces and music coverage are only the dessert. For entrée, we look to news announcements that detail the what, the why and the how much, rounded out with manufacturer-supplied imagery. Show reports add self-shot photographs and video for a little extra sizzle. Only reviews can provide something substantial to chew on – they are the only post type in which insight into sound quality holds water.

    Joining the dots between news items, show reports and reviews are the products themselves. Street pricing is only part of the story. Dollars and cents establish a product’s context – a backdrop to the product’s starring role but never the star itself.

    Press releases aplenty land in the DAR inbox at this time of year but their talk isn’t of new products but of discounts and special offers. 20% off this, a free pair of that. In other words, manufacturers are exhorting editors to report on price and price alone. Politely – nein Danke.

    Just as it isn’t an audio reviewer’s job to report on his/her local hifi store’s Christmas or summer sales, Stateside-only pricing specials don’t fall within DAR’s remit. In other words, my job is to report on audio gear and how it sounds, not seasonal special offers. Such heavy lifting instead falls to a manufacturer’s banner ads, email newsletter blasts and social media channels.

    One might point to Black Friday being a much bigger deal than your average hi-fi store’s clearance sale. And you’d be right…

    This brings us to my second reason for not compiling a list of bargains for your sweaty thrifty palms. Americans make up one-third of DAR’s readership. That’s a sizeable chunk but do the math: a USA-centric Black Friday / Cyber Monday hi-fi buying guide would leave two-thirds of this site’s readership to twist in the wind.

    This is also why I prefer not to pre-announce audio shows. Such announcements make for localised content and, regional quirks aside, aren’t globally relevant — unlike news posts, show reports and reviews which are. One look at the entry stamps in my passport reminds me that DAR is a global entity, albeit with a heavy lean toward the USA.

    Which is why I’m not red carding Thanksgiving itself. It’s time to count one’s blessings. I’d like to offer up my gratitude to DAR’s advertisers who keep fuel in this site’s engine which in turn allows me to provide content to readers completely free of charge. If you’re feeling the itch to buy some new audio gear this holiday weekend, click a banner ad and see what the manufacturer has to offer, special pricing or not. It doesn’t hurt to look.

    Or perhaps we take a leaf out of OPPO Digital’s book:

    “This Friday morning, go ahead and sleep in just a little bit. OPPO Digital’s product prices will not change for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or indeed any day this year. We price our products to reflect the unmatched value we pack into every single one, from every award-winning disc player to every breathtaking headphone and accessory, and offer that very same price to all customers all year. Existing customers can rest in the fact that they still have the very best deal on their gear, and new customers know that any time is a good time to buy OPPO Digital products. So, go ahead and sleep in just a little bit more… then grab your morning cup of coffee, and tackle this holiday season’s shopping at, or visit your local reseller.”

    The ghost of Bill Hicks enters the room: “I know what all the marketing people are thinking right now too: “Oh, you know what OPPO Digital is doing? They’re going for that anti-marketing dollar. That’s a good market. They’re very smart.”

    And yet…if you absolutely cannot help yourself, check out Audio Head’s Audiophile Black Friday and Cyber Monday Guide here.

    Header image by Powhusku, cropped. Licensed under Creative Commons.

    Written by John

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram

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