Ina Fried

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Neil Young Still Singing the Praises of Better Quality Digital Music

It seems like an uphill battle — convincing a generation of people that grew up with white earbuds and MP3 files to pay more for better sound.

But Neil Young knows a thing or two about trying to run counter to the popular culture.

Young, who discussed his quest for better-quality digital audio at this year’s D: Dive Into Media, is moving ahead with Pono, which plans to offer a combination of players and music starting early next year.

The effort, according to Rolling Stone, has the interest of both record labels and artists. Warner Music has converted its library of 8,000 albums, the magazine reports, while musician Flea raves about the improved quality: “It’s not like some vague thing that you need dogs’ ears to hear. It’s a drastic difference.”

Of course, all that uncompressed audio comes at a cost, both monetarily as well as in the time it takes to download the files and the space that the music then takes up.

It’s worth hearing Young talk about the matter. If you haven’t watched it — or haven’t watched it recently — here’s the full video of Young’s January talk at Dive Into Media.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work