Neil Young’s foray into the digital world of music was a failure of epic proportions, but of course it wasn’t his fault…
Back in 2014 legendary musician Neil Young launched a Kickstarter for Pono, an MP3 player and streaming service. The player had a horrible triangular design that made pockets grimace and had less storage space than a smartphone, his hi-res music store was expensive and out of touch and their attempt at a streaming service went nowhere, but Young says it wasn’t Pono’s fault that it died it’s the awful and terrible music industry which put him down (please note sarcasm).
Speaking on the failure of Pono, Young told the Chicago Tribune recently: “The record labels killed it. They killed it by insisting on charging two to three times as much for the high-res files as for MP3s. Why would anybody pay three times as much?”
After failing to create his own music service and player, and rejecting the modern industry (he flip-flops on this) Young is now launching The Neil Young Archive. It features a collection of Young’s albums and live music, available for streaming in hi-res. Young said: “The thing is, I want the sound of music to come back – and it’s gone. CDs have less than 20% of the quality that music could be, and MP3s in most cases have only about 5% of what’s on the master recording.”
With his new site Neil Young seems to have actually created an accessible product with value though. The Neil Young Archives are currently free to enter and stream as much as you like from with a subscription to be announced in the future. The site looks pretty cool too, designed like a vintage Fender amp which hides a file cabinet full of Neil Young’s music.
Lets hope Young remains on this line between the 21st century and out of touch rock musician, and doesn’t stray back to the latter side. Check out his new site and stream all of his music for free here: www.neilyoungarchives.com