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Neil Young book chronicles fight to improve digital music

‘To Feel The Music’ will be released on September 9th.
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Neil Young

Music legend Neil Young has spent several years trying (and failing) to push high-resolution music to the masses. A new book by Young tells the story of how the Canadian songwriter set out to develop Pono, his $400 portable digital music player that went out of business in 2016. Co-written by Young and former Pono Chief Operating Officer Phil Baker, To Feel The Music: A Songwriter's Quest to Save High-Quality Audio is set to be released on September 9th. Along with details on Pono, readers will also learn about how Neil Young came to develop Xstream, his high-resolution streaming platform, as well his decision to release his entire catalog online for free.

High-res, or "better than CD" quality hasn't really caught on with mainstream consumers, most likely due to the premium upcharge and limited offerings. It's unlikely anyone other than the most devoted audiophiles are willing to fork over the extra cash for master-quality audio.

Young in an interview for the Los Angeles Times acknowledged as much, blaming the greed of record labels for the failure of his Pono music player. "The record labels killed it," said Young to the LA Times. "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?"

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