Neil Young likes his high-fidelity audio. In 2014, the Harvest songwriter announced Pono, a digital media player and music download service created as a “high-resolution audio alternative to the MP3 format.” Though the project was ultimately shut down in 2017, Young has continued to experiment with high-quality audio through the Neil Young Archives, a skeuomorphic attempt to revive enthusiasm for crate-digging in the digital era. Now, Young has announced a new book on his efforts with Phil Baker, CEO of the Neil Young Archives.
Titled To Feel the Music: A Songwriter’s Mission to Save High-Quality Audio, the book documents Young’s attempts to bring high-quality digital audio to his fans. In a press release, Young says the book “takes you through how the sound was and is comprised by the tech and record companies, and instead of improving over time like other technologies, it has become worse.”
“Our book also tells the business and development story behind Pono,” his statement continues. “And then, when people wanted the convenience of streaming, how we developed Xstream high resolution streaming, the highest quality streaming in the world, as you hear it at NYA. The issue of improving audio quality has been one of the most important things we’ve been doing for decades, and something I focus on every day.”
The Neil Young Archives made their public debut in December 2017 featuring a sprawling catalog of unreleased Young albums including Chrome Dreams, Homegrown, and Freedom Live. Young’s autobiography Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream was published in 2012. To Feel the Music: A Songwriter’s Mission to Save High-Quality Audio arrives September 9, 2019. In the meantime, revisit our exploration of the Neil Young Archives from 2017, as well as our 2014 interview with Young about his Pono project.