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Neil Young Asks Industry to “Make Streaming Sound Good”

July 16, 2015 - Written By Tom Dawson

Neil Young has always been something of a character, but in the last couple of years he has become known more for – at least in the technology world – for his peddling of the Pono player and high-resolution 24-bit auto, conveniently sold through the PonoStore. The Pono player became famous throughout its Kickstarter campaign, mostly due to Young’s antics, but more because high-resolution Digital Audio Players (or DAP’s) aren’t anything new. Companies like FiiO will sell you the X1 player for $99, or roughly one-fourth of what the Pono retails for, that does exactly the same as the Pono, and it doesn’t ask where you got your music from. Young clearly has it out for streaming as he has a vested interest in selling high-quality records through the Pono store, but he’s taken things to a new level recently, removing all his music from streaming services.

In a recent rant on Facebook, Young says that “Streaming sucks. Streaming is the worst audio in history.” and that both AM Radio and 8 Tracks “kicked streaming’s ass, and absolutely rocked compared to streaming.” We’re not sure if Young has listened to Google Play Music’s 320kbps streaming rate, or Spotify’s 256kbps streaming rate, but we’re pretty sure they sound better than AM Radio. It seems as though Young is forgetting about TIDAL, which streams at lossless, 1,411 kbps 16-bit quality which is like-for-like what you’d get from a CD. Despite declaring that his “music is being removed from all streaming services” and that streaming isn’t “good enough to sell or rent” his music is still available to stream on TIDAL as of writing. I suppose it’s a shame I’m not a big Neil Young fan.

It’s clear that streaming is the future of legal consumption of music, after people got used to paying essentially nothing for pirating CDs, it’s a lot harder to tell someone in the Netflix age to pay for each and every record you want to listen to. We covered what “the future” of music looks like, and while Young might be going about it the wrong way, services like TIDAL and stores like 7Digital, along with Sony’s hi-res audio initiative are steadily improving the quality of music. Young’s original post from Facebook can be found at the source below.