Best Buy, Sony Ready High-Res Music Demos

Chain adding another vendor-driven section
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Best Buy will begin rolling out Sony-featured demo areas for portable high-res audio in over 70 stores this fall.

Updated! Minneapolis — Best Buy will begin rolling out Sony-featured demo areas for high-res home and portable audio in over 70 stores this fall.

The “music stations” will be located within the chain’s Magnolia Design Centers — fully featured in-store mini-showrooms and vignettes that showcase home-theater products and custom-install services.

The displays will feature Sony’s Walkman portable players, headphone amplifiers, music servers and other home-component high-res audio devices, as well as equipment from other as-yet unnamed manufacturers, said Aaron Levine, Sony senior product manager for home audio.

Customers will be able to demo a selection of high-res audio clips, and the stations will promote a variety of high-res recordings from Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group that are available through participating digital music download providers.

Select locations will also host high-res promotional events, including launch parties, receptions and displays of album artwork, the partners said.

Smaller A/V specialty stores have promoted high-res audio, but Best Buy is the “first national retailer to respond like this,” Levine said.

In a statement, Magnolia audio director Mike Crane said, “The addition of high-res music stations offers fans of high-resolution music the chance to experience the next wave of audio technology."

Added Sony Electronics president Mike Fasulo: “We’re delighted to assist Magnolia Design Center in its efforts to provide a higher-quality listening experience for their customers. Thanks to this program, music enthusiasts will finally get the opportunity to hear their favorite recordings digitally, just like the artist intended.”

The high-res music stations are the latest example of Best Buy’s strategy under chairman, president and CEO Hubert Joly of parceling out floor space to vendors for dedicated branded displays— Additional reporting by Joseph Palenchar


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