"Steve Jobs Preferred Vinyl" Says Neil Young
AllThingsD Conference, Laguna Niguel, California, Jan. 31, 2012
Photos by Asa Mathat
Neil Young’s never ending quest for better sound continued today at the AllThingsD Conference in Laguna Niguel, California.
Last week, Neil Young declared support for Occupy Audio due to his anger about today's sound quality" and provided further elaboration at the AllThingsD Conference.
In an interview, Young said:
“Steve Jobs was a pioneer of digital music, and his legacy is tremendous. But when he went home, he listened to vinyl. And you’ve got to believe that if he’d lived long enough, he would have done what I’m trying to do.”
From Neil Young on Music Quality, Record Labels and Steve Jobs - Dive Into Media - AllThingsD by John Paczkowski:
“My goal is to try and rescue the art form that I’ve been practicing for the past 50 years,” Young said. “We live in the digital age and, unfortunately, it’s degrading our music, not improving it.”
“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,” Young said. “The MP3 only has 5 percent of the data present in the original recording. … The convenience of the digital age has forced people to choose between quality and convenience, but they shouldn’t have to make that choice.”
Also a topic of conversation during today’s interview: The recording industry, and whether the record label has outlived its usefulness. Young contended it hasn’t.
“What I like about record companies is that they present and nurture artists,” he said. “That doesn’t exist on iTunes, it doesn’t exist on Amazon. That’s what a record company does, and that’s why I like my record company. People look at record companies like they’re obsolete, but there’s a lot of soul in there — a lot of people who care about music, and that’s very important.”
Then why is it the case that some artists complain so much about the economics of the industry?
Said Young, “Those artists should go by themselves. They have a choice of what they can do. Artists who want to go it alone should just do that.”
Finally, Young discussed piracy, which he doesn’t view as the threat that some other musicians do.
"I look at [the] internet as the new radio," he explained. "Radio [is] gone. Piracy is the new radio; it's how music gets around."
From Business & Technology | Neil Young: Steve Jobs listened to vinyl | Seattle Times Newspaper By RYAN NAKASHIMA:
Young told the "D: Dive Into Media" conference Tuesday that he spoke with Jobs about creating a format that has 20 times the fidelity of files in the most current digital formats, including MP3.
Such a format, he said, would contain 100 percent of the data of music as it is created in a studio, as opposed to 5 percent in compressed formats including Apple's AAC. Each song would be huge, and a new storage and playback device might only hold 30 albums. Each song would take about 30 minutes to download, which is fine if you leave your device on overnight, he said.
"Sleep well. Wake up in the morning. Play some real music and listen to the joy of 100 percent of the sound of music," he said.
Although Young didn't have a practical plan for developing such a format - saying it's for "rich people" to decide - he said Jobs was on board with the idea before he died from cancer at age 56 in October.
"I talked to Steve about it. We were working on it," Young said. "You've got to believe if he lived long enough he would eventually try to do what I'm trying to do."
Young's opinion of Jobs was confirmed by interviewer Walt Mossberg, a journalist with News Corp.'s All Things D website, which has hosted Jobs at its conferences before.
Mossberg said Jobs in the past expressed surprise that "people traded quality, to the extent they had, for convenience or price."
Also, see Neil Young Supports Occupy Audio.