Exclusivity Isn’t Everything, Or Is It?

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Comparing Bang Olufsen with any other audio/video component manufacturer is like comparing Mozart to a jingle writer. The company enjoys a small, but affluent, audience of audiophiles who will settle for nothing less than a Bang Olufsen. It has earned its reputation as exhibiting a high level of quality that places it “Best in Class” in the eyes of its starry-eyed believers.

It’s almost cult-like following of audiophiles share appreciation for the impeccable product quality and the deep pockets that are needed to finance a purchase. Bang Olufsen is currently selling its latest line of CD players for $5250. Yet the folks who are sold Bang Olufsen will settle for nothing less. Athens-based Marketing agency CEO Ted Wright is a perfect example. A big fan of the alt-rock sounds of REM and Pylon, Wright will only listen with the product that is built by the Danish-based manufacturer. Wright owns B O’s classic BeoSound 9000 CD player. Wall–mounted, this CD player is unlike any CD player you’ve ever seen. Its appearance is that of brushed, fatigued metal and smoked glass approximately 36” in length. The square tube contains 6 discs at a time and face out for quick and easy selection.

Whether it’s the CD player, the Monitor or the sound system, each piece could comfortably rest on any museum wall in the world. Yet, as of late, all has not been rose-colored glasses. Although no one questions the high product quality in video display and audio, the venerable company has been criticized for its impossibly difficult operation. One appealing aspect of BO”s allure is that of its exclusivity to an elite audience of well healed audiophiles. However, the question is what will happen when the companies aging customer base begins to shrink from old age? Will a new generation of BO aficionados emerge to carry the flag? Although BO is not currently hurting financially, many believe that the sun has set on this 86 year old company.

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