There's a reason why you can't sell "hi-fidelity" CDs these days. That reason is simple: audiophiles are a dying breed.

Today, kids don't spend their money on a sound system for the living room. They spend their money either on an iPod, or on a car stereo.

And what's common to both these musical players?

They are both used in what can only be charitably described as HOSTILE ENVIRONMENTS.

If you are rolling down the road at 120 km/h or sitting in traffic, there are going to be other noises in your environment. Your car, other cars, pedestrians, city noises in general. Subtlety isn't going to get recognized in such an environment.

So naturally, people want music that can stand up to the environment. Thus, the flatter, bass-enhanced type of music that we see these days.

Music has changed from an end in itself to a lifestyle accessory. An enhancement, something that makes the day go by a little more easily.

And while that means that "music as art" may be slipping away, it does mean that there are more people who want music as part of their lives.