Listen with Prejudice – Susanna Grant

I have been thinking a lot about listening. I don’t have time to listen to music properly any more – I always seem to have a pile of new CDs I haven’t got round to listening to – when I was young I listened to each new record for hours on end every day until I knew it back to front.

No matter how hard I try, MP3’s just aren’t the same as a CD or vinyl. The best way to listen to anything is with your eyes closed – some people seem to only listen to music on their mobile phones on the bus.

And that’s exactly what we’re addressing with Society of  Sound’s music club. The idea of having one beautifully recorded album a month that you can download without any compression and then burn onto a disc so you can have an actual CD with artwork is really appealing. You can listen to it properly for at least a month before even thinking about the next one.

This is a really creative time for the music industry, it has needed to change for a long time, everyone has agreed the old business model is obsolete and this leaves the door wide open for people to try new ones –something that Radiohead proved effortlessly with their In Rainbows album. Giving the rights back to Society of Sound artists once the month is up means they can record something unrestricted by any label and then distribute it as they want to.

We’re trying something new here, and in the words of the redoubtable Freddie Laker, come fly with us.


  • Christophe says:

    Sounds great. Look forward to some great releases

  • Matthew says:

    Sound quality is definitely part of the reason why music feels more disposable than it used to. Good to see that you’re adding some value back – and if you can do that in a way that benefits the artist as well as me, so much the better.

  • Jessie says:

    I just sort of stumbled across this club while I was visiting for one of my regular “gawking at speakers I wish I could afford” sessions, and I must say I fell inlove with the idea of this immediately. It’s rare these days that I have the time to sift through the saturated market to find good quality recordings by artists that are new to me, so this is a perfect opportunity for me to easily expand my collection.

    As you mentioned, Radiohead was really on to something when they released In Rainbows, and let’s not forget to give Trent Reznor due credit for his recent progressions with Nine Inch Nails becoming label free as well.

    Thank you for continuing the trend.

  • Bill says:

    I think this is a tremendous idea!

    I signed up on a trial basis and downloaded the first EP by Little Axe. I have to say that the sound quality is simply stunning, especially when played back on my B&W 703s :-)

    In fact, I liked it so much that I upgraded to the full service for a year – I really wanted the whole Little Axe album, and I’m excited about the possibilities of discovering new music that I know is well recorded and mastered, and not compressed in any way. Many modern CDs are so poorly mastered that I’ve been turning more to vinyl lately, and downloading compressed music just doesn’t appeal to me.

    I like everything about this service: the music is high quality and DRM free. It’s very artist friendly and they retain full rights to the album after one month on the music club. I’m excited about the possibilities of discovering new genres and artists.

    Well done B&W! It’s about time we had a service like this!

  • Kevin says:

    Feedback is very important. I believe this is a good move.

    I am currently upgrading my hi fi stereo in my art studio to the new 685 with a rotel rb 1050 amp but I still miss the sweet tones of vinyl and tube amps. Neither MP3 nor CDs seem to get that organic, or in better words, visceral sound you get from fully analog audio. Regretably analog is the most expensive and space consuming choice.

    I listen to music while I paint, although not my profession it is more than a hobby for me, and just as you feel texture in paint and color and trace you feel texture in sound. You want to make sound run electricity through your skin. Why do some of us close our eyes? At least for me, sound has to be so loyal, of such fidelity, that you are able not only to picture the source but you should be able to touch it. Sound may sound crisp, deep – you want not only to feel the harmony of sounds, but each sound must be sensual by itself. Just as sometimes, especially in expressionism, you like a painting only because of the way one color melds softly with the other sometimes in music you just like that way one thing sounds. A crisp glass a deep and texturized drum a vibrating chord. This sensuality of sound is something critical listeners crave for and it is the kind of experience I can only fully experience with B&W.

    Of course this can always go further. Music is much more than we think, it can change the way we feel in but an instant, and the more visceral, untainted, that sound is, the more efficiently it connects with our senses. With sound, loyal and visceral enough, music becomes a healing magic.

    That is my point of view about the value of fidelity.

    On the other hand there are somethings I would like to request again from BW as I did some years ago. After listening to our main HiFi system the only thing we want is to listen to it on the go. My point is, why on heavens has BW not researched on Headphones? I own some Beyerdynamic which although clear, lack that “True Sound” BW speakers have. I am sure it would be a new terrain very interesting for BW as well as a commercial hit.



  • Stewart says:

    I just downloaded “Little Ax” and burned a copy to CD. While I think the idea of offering high quality digital via download should be lauded, I must admit I am somewhat disappointed with the sound quality. I have a high-end system, i.e. MBL, Rowland, Accustic Arts. In my opinion, the sound while perhaps better than most digital downloads, MP3, etc, does not rival CD. I will not be subscribing.

  • shaun says:

    i lkie it

  • shaun says:


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