Neil Young says done with streaming due to ‘worst’ sound quality

16 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Neil Young Continues His Crusade Against Reason by Screwing His Fans.

Neil Young has become the latest star to pick a fight with the world’s top streaming services after announcing on Wednesday he’ll no longer allow sites like Apple and Spotify to offer up his back catalogue.The rock legend has vowed to take his music off “all streaming services” primarily because of issues he has with their sound quality, he explained in a note to fans Wednesday. “Streaming has ended for me.Though Neil Young’s music is still on Spotify and Apple Music right now, but we’re meant to understand that the Canadian crooner will be removing his music from these services in the near future.Tidal offers a high-fidelity version of its streaming service for $10 more per month; Young did not mention any specific streaming services in his post.

“It’s about sound quality,” the post said. “I don’t need my music to be devalued by the worst quality in the history of broadcasting or any other form of distribution. It’s not because of the money, although my share (like all the other artists) was dramatically reduced by bad deals made without my consent. “It’s about sound quality. In a Facebook post, the 69-year-old Heart of Gold and Cinnamon Girl songwriter minced no words about the all-you-can-stream services. “AM radio kicked streaming’s ass,” he wrote. “Analog cassettes and 8 tracks also kicked streaming’s ass, and absolutely rocked compared to streaming. … Streaming is the worst audio in history.” The move, he wrote, allows him to preserve his art as it was intended to be heard. (As of publication time, his music was still available on services including Rdio and Apple Music.) Last year, Mr. Young ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to launch the Pono portable music device and download service to promote high-quality audio in digital music. The PonoPlayer looks like an old-school iPod only shaped like a triangle, and plays digital audio files just like your phone, computer, TV, stereo, etc., but at the highest quality possible.

Neil Young’s obsession with audio quality isn’t just focused on streaming: The musician is also heading Pono, a company that sells a portable HD audio player by the same name and also runs a music download service. All my music, my life’s work, is what I am preserving the way I want it to be.” The big gripe for many artists about streaming services has been about money – just last month, Taylor Swift scolded Apple for not paying artists during the three-month trial period they’re offering potential customers. Never say never.” The major streaming services, except for Tidal, stream at a bit rate below CD quality: Spotify (320 kilobytes per second a.k.a. kbps), Google Play Music (320 kbps), Rdio (320 kbps), Apple Music (256 kbps) and Xbox Music (192 kbps).

For years, Young has been a proponent of high-fi digital music, and launched his own player and digital audio service called PONO to combat his fear of low-quality music circulating in the digital age. Tidal delivers near CD-quality audio with 1,411-kilobytes-per-second files at its $19.99-per-month subscription; Tidal’s cheaper tier compresses standard-quality files of 96 kbps or high-quality files of 320 kbps. For those fans who have committed to the world of streaming, there is still a glimmer of hope. “When quality is back, I’ll give it another look,” he wrote. “Never say never.” A representative for Neil Young’s label Reprise Records declined to comment.

Files on iTunes are notably compressed to 256 kbps, the same bit rate Apple Music streams its content — below the bit rate Tidal, Spotify and Rdio offer. Technically, most streaming services use lossy audio files, which means that the files are not a mathematically perfect copy of the original source material. Most people would rationally trade a small amount of quality for the convenience of having easy access to all the music ever recorded, no matter where they are.

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