Saturday, February 4, 2012

digital discontents, part 198

Neil Young on his campaign for higher-fidelity digital sound and how he spoke with Steve Jobs about creating a format with 20 times the fidelity of files in the most current digital formats such as MP3

"The quality of the sound of music today--I don’t like it. It just makes me angry.

“Not the quality of the music. But we’re in the 21st century and we have the worst sound that we’ve ever had. It’s worse than a 78. Where are our geniuses? What happened?

"If you’re an artist and you created something and you knew the master was 100 percent great, but the consumer got 5 percent, would you be feeling good?I like to point that out to artists. That’s why people listen to music differently today.

"It’s all about the bottom and the beat driving everything, and that’s because in the resolution of the music, there’s nothing else you can really hear. The warmth and the depth at the high end is gone. It’s like Occupy Music — the 5 percent, that’s who we are now. We used to be the hundred percent!

"It's not that digital is bad or inferior, it's that the way it's being used isn't doing justice to the art . . . The convenience of the digital age has forced people to choose between quality and convenience, but they shouldn't have to make that choice.

“Steve Jobs was a digital pioneer, but when he went home, he listened to vinyl.

"I talked to Steve about it. We were working on it. You've got to believe if he lived long enough he would eventually try to do what I'm trying to do.

“My goal is to try and rescue the art form that I’ve been practicing for the past 50 years. We live in the digital age, and unfortunately it’s degrading our music, not improving.

“The CD is over. But the album will never be dead.”

His proposed format would contain 100 percent of the data of music as recorded in the studio. Each song-file would be so big, it would take 30 minutes to download; a new portable playback device might hold just 30 albums. You would download overnight and...

"Sleep well. Wake up in the morning. Play some real music and listen to the joy of 100 percent of the sound of music"

A dream, I'm guessing: don't see people going into reverse in terms of the convenience of "want it NOW!!!" instant-access and ultrachoice (a whole, huge collection portable wherever you go).

[various sources from 2011 and 2012]

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