Neil Young is still fighting to save high-fidelity music

I’m with Neil Young on this.

Since the advent of the MP3, people have quietly accepted (if not fully embraced) music with audio quality that is far, far, inferior to what was enjoyed in the 70s and 80s.

Back in the day, people spend huge dollars on stereo gear in an effort to have the clearest, loudest, and most accurate sound reproduction possible for our music. Tight, deep bass. Clear midrange. Smooth highs. And not just in our houses, but also in our vehicles.

Today? Meh. Cheap Skull Candy earphones are fine. Laptop speakers are good enough. Mobile phones speakers do the job. Too many people are okay with the crappy compressed sound of MP3s.

But people who believe that are cheating themselves, depriving themselves from the glories of recorded music. If this is the only way you’ve ever listened to your favourite songs, you’ve been missing so much.

Uncle Neil wants to help, but not enough people are listening. No wonder he’s still grumpy. This is from an upcoming New York Times Magazine feature.

“Neil Young is crankier than a hermit being stung by bees. He hates Spotify. He hates Facebook. He hates Apple. He hates Steve Jobs. He hates what digital technology is doing to music. ‘I’m only one person standing there going, ‘Hey, this is [expletive] up!’ ” he shouted, ranting away on the porch of his longtime manager Elliot Roberts’s house overlooking Malibu Canyon in the sunblasted desert north of Los Angeles. The dial thermometer at the far end of the porch indicated that it was now upward of 110 degrees of some kind of heat. Maybe the dial was stuck.

“When you hear real music, you get lost in it, he added, “because it sounds like God.” Spotify doesn’t sound like God. No one thinks that. It sounds like a rotating electric fan that someone bought at a hardware store.”

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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