Neil Young took on the music industry so that fans could hear his music—all music—the way it was meant to be heard.
Today, most of the music fans listen to is streamed via online services and highly compressed. It’s convenient, but, frustratingly, this comes at the cost of quality. Gone are the days when it was technologically necessary to compress music into the smallest possible file size, yet this remains the industry standard.
The result is music that is robbed of its original quality—muddy and flat in sound compared to the rich, warm sound artists hear in the studio. It doesn’t have to be this way, but the record and technology companies have incorrectly assumed that most listeners are satisfied with these low-quality tracks.
Neil Young is challenging the assault on audio quality—and working to free music lovers from the flat and lifeless status quo.
To Feel the Music is the true story of Neil’s quest to bring high-quality audio back to music lovers—which he considers the most important undertaking of his career. Inside, follow Neil as he discovers the step by step deterioration of recorded sound as analog is methodically replaced by digital CDs, MP3s, and low-price, low-quality streaming; gathers others committed to his goal of delivering music the way artists intend for it to sound; and eventually develops the Neil Young Archives, a high-res streaming site that gives users unprecedented access to all of Neil’s music—in the best quality their devices can handle—videos, photos, and more.
Neil’s efforts to bring quality audio to his fans garnered media attention when his Kickstarter campaign for his Pono player—a revolutionary music player that would combine the highest quality possible with the portability, simplicity and affordability modern listeners crave—became the third-most successful Kickstarter campaign in the website’s history. It had raised more than $6M in pledges in 40 days. Encouraged by the enthusiastic response, Neil still had a long road ahead, and his Pono music player would not have the commercial success he’d imagined. But he remained committed to his mission, and faced with the rise of streaming services that used even lower quality audio, he was determined to rise to the challenge.
An eye-opening read for all fans of Neil Young and all fans of great music, as well as readers interesting in going behind the scenes of product creation, To Feel the Music has an inspiring story at its heart: One determined artist with a groundbreaking vision and the absolute refusal to give up, despite setbacks, naysayers, and skeptics.
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About the Author
Neil Young is one of the world’s most famous musicians, with millions of followers from around the world. He’s a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, producer, director and screenwriter. His music career began in the 1960s, when he formed Buffalo Springfield with Stephen Stills. He joined Crosby, Stills & Nash, and has recorded solo albums with his backing bands Crazy Horse and Promise of the Real. Young has recorded a steady stream of studio and live albums, now at 40. Young also plays piano, guitar, and harmonica on many of his albums, which frequently combine folk, rock, country, and other musical styles. Young has received numerous Grammy and Juno awards. He’s a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and is listed as the 34th greatest rock 'n roll artist in Rolling Stone ’s list of the 100 greatest artists of all time. He continues to tour and record new albums. Young has also directed motion pictures and has written two previous books, his autobiography Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream in 2012 and Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life & Cars in 2014.
Young has appeared as a guest on many major network shows including The Late Show with Stephen Colbert , The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon , The Late Show with David Letterman , Saturday Night Live , The Big Interview With Dan Rather , and more. He continues to enjoy a huge following, as exemplified by the recent introduction of his new online archives, with more than 300,000 signups and 8 million page views in the first week. Young is an environmentalist and outspoken advocate for the welfare of small farmers, having cofounded the benefit concert Farm Aid with Willie Nelson. Young also helped found The Bridge School, an educational organization for children with severe verbal and physical disabilities.
Phil Baker has a long career developing consumer electronic products, as well as working as a technology journalist and author. He has developed many iconic products for Polaroid, Apple, Seiko, Barnes & Noble, Pono, and others. Baker is the author of From Concept to Consumer and has written award winning columns for the San Diego Transcript , Recode , and others. Phil holds more than 30 patents and was Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year for San Diego. Phil and Neil began working together to develop the Pono Music Player in 2012 and continue to work together on other projects, including the recently introduced Neil Young Archives, an online archive of Young’s lifetime of works.