July/Aug 2019

“The music industry is desperately trying to find new ways to make money and physical media is where they can still do this.”

Far left: Convert Technologies’ Plato system.

Top and left: The DAT-Air CD ripping and wireless streaming technology.


into audio files is long-winded and quite involved, with DAT-Air the process is simple and fun. “With some turntable products on the market, you need a USB cable and a PC to start recording. It’s quite a complicated process, and generally people don’t bother. USB turntables are not offering a convenient solution.”

that. But we’re not a large company so we don’t want to set off too may fires; once the brands are on board we could develop DAT-Air, as a principle, into other sectors.

Q: So what’s next for you guys? Ian Grostate: Our model, as we’ve come out of production, is to license our technology to other customers and partnerships to help us get to market. It’s a slow process so you have to be disruptive.

We launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to help get this going and in particular the reaction to DAT-Air in America has been strong.” Dave Belcher: DAT-Air is a fun, gadget-type product you buy after buying a turntable. But it is packed full of technology, backed with a fully featured network back-end. So it’s actually the basis of an IoT

platform device. We’re pushing that idea and then we can start looking at other technology ideas soon.

Q: What sort of direction are you heading in? DB: We are trying to push out the audio solutions as much as we can. We’ve got various solutions from headphones up to full blown Hi-Fi systems and supporting apps as well. Certainly in the audio industry, to have an electronic solution backed up with apps to support that is pretty unusual, and somewhere we can add value to our partners. IG: The principal of DAT-Air – of wireless transfer and sharing data from a device to an app – it’s something that’s got industrial application, so there’s

Q: Where do you feel you sit in the market currently? DB: The music industry is desperately trying to find new ways to make money and physical media is where they can still do this. Record sales have been growing year on year for at least the last five years; but CD sales are really starting to crash. We’ll see a point soon where vinyl starts overtaking CD, which would’ve been hard to imagine until recently! One of the things driving the resurgence of vinyl is that a record is such a nice thing to own; it’s like a big piece of art, and you often get lyric sheets and other extras included as well. With streaming services today, there has been a bit of a backlash and I think in many ways there’s a bit of desire to own something now. The idea that you buy a simple music file is not very exciting for most people, especially true music lovers and collectors. So if you pay more and you get something physical, it means a lot more and there is a sense of ownership with it. But it is not very convenient in today’s mobile world, that’s where we come in.

Q: How do you feel your solutions compete with streaming services? IG:

I definitely

think that people will start turning to CD ripping apps, such as DAT-Air. I think streaming will find its place, but

The DAT-Air dongle.

you’ve still got the challenge of playing all your music back catalogue – whatever platform it is on – on your phone or on the move. DB: I think technology-wise, voice control is going to be absolutely

everywhere very soon. More

integration and more online services are inevitable, but the technology has to work for users, not against them – they want to use the same control surface to play the radio, play their vinyl or CDs or stream off the internet, anywhere in the home or out and about in the car. That is the concept behind all of our work and this will come from consolidation and getting big names involved.

Q: What do you think this means for electrical retailers on the high street?

IG: There are some challenges in the industry, resellers need to start looking at adding value to the end users, who must be really confused at the moment with all the technology available; they’re looking at a market that’s changing really fast. Retailers need to lead confused users from the front, demonstrating how solutions like ours work. There is an opportunity for them to start educating people and providing more of a service, as this is something the likes of Amazon and the online companies cannot do, so retailers can offer something different. Offer advice, sell full solutions, sell more than one brand, use tried and tested, integrated products. Offer full services, like complete digitised music collections. Some are doing this really well, and I think it is paying off for them.

As a retailer, they can add value, be that main point of contact and build relationships – then consumers will come back and pay more in the future for the next generation

of technology.

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