Neil Young Expands Pono Digital-to-Analog Music Service

By Patrick Flanary – via Rolling Stone

Aretha Franklin had never sounded so shocking, Flea decided last year, as “Respect” roared from the speakers of Neil Young‘s Cadillac Eldorado. Stunned by the song’s clarity, the Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ bassist listened alongside bandmate Anthony Kiedis and producer Rick Rubin while Young showcased the power of Pono, his high-resolution music service designed to confront the compressed audio inferiority that MP3s offer.

Beginning next year, Pono will release a line of portable players, a music-download service and digital-to-analog conversion technology intended to present songs as they first sound during studio recording sessions. In his book out this week, Waging Heavy Peace, Young writes that Pono will help unite record companies with cloud storage “to save the sound of music.” As Flea raves to Rolling Stone, “It’s not like some vague thing that you need dogs’ ears to hear. It’s a drastic difference.”

Pono’s preservation of the fuller, analog sound already has the ear of the Big Three record labels: Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and Sony Music. WMG – home to artists including Muse, the Black Keys, Common and Jill Scott – has converted its library of 8,000 album titles to high-resolution, 192kHz/24-bit sound. It was a process completed prior to the company’s partnership with Young’s Pono project last year, said Craig Kallman, chairman and chief executive of Atlantic Records.

Read full story at RollingStone.com

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