Neil Young is launching a new music streaming service
by Jeremy Mersereau
December 13, 2016
Neil announces a high-bitrate streaming service for audiophiles.
Though sales of his toblerone-shaped Pono player haven’t been strong, and the PonoMusic online store has been out of commission since last summer, Neil Young isn’t deterred in his quest to bring the best possible quality digital music to audiophiles everywhere.
In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Young announced his plans to launch a Pono re-branded music streaming service that will focus on high-fidelity music. “We’re gonna re-emerge as a streaming service and a high-res download offer,” he said. “We provide the best that’s available. Full resolution music, great sounding music.”
Young says that the company is currently actively securing deals to procure streaming rights to music libraries, and also working with another company to ensure the music maintains its “quality level” when playing on smartphones, most of which aren’t currently equipped to play truly lossless sound files. This will be accomplished by having the music play with a world-first high-res adaptive bitrate, meaning the music will seamlessly step up and down in quality as your available bandwidth changes.
It isn’t yet clear when Young’s service will launch or how much it will cost, but when considering yet another music streaming service entering the marketplace, it’s hard to imagine the new Pono version catching on. After all, that other service that focuses on high-quality lossless files isn’t exactly doing gangbusters.
When launched, the Pono service will offer even higher-quality files than Tidal, which could serve as its major selling point or a niche feature most music lovers don’t really care that much about, especially when most can’t tell the difference between a 192kbps mp3 and an uncompressed WAV.