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| Columns |

Neil Young: I Hate MP3s and So Did Steve Jobs

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​Neil Young's extreme audiophilia -- that is, his obsession with acoustics -- sometimes borders on insanity.

For example, every minute of his 2010 album, Le Noise, produced with acclaimed rock technician Daniel Lanois, was recorded live, exclusively during full moons and using Lanois's pipe organ as an organically reverberating amplifier.

And wasn't it just last year that he posted a weirdly apocalyptic message on his website about high-resolution audio in the Age of Aquarius or something?

Anyway, Shakey is back at it again, shouting at clouds, telling everyone to put down the ear buds and pick up the gramophones you have to crank. Only this time, ol' Neil's audio-related tantrum involves late Apple founder Steve Jobs.

According to Rolling Stone, Young spoke during a panel discussion at the D: Dive Into Media conference in Southern California, telling the audience that as much as he may have loved shilling iPods and swimming in pools of gold coins, Steve Jobs preferred vinyl.

Digital formats like MP3s retain approximately five percent of the data created when music is recorded in the studio. Subsequently, what pumps out of those tiny ear buds lacks the sonic depth and space -- described most frequently as "warmth" -- offered by mediums like records, but also imperceptible to 99 percent of listeners.

Nevertheless, the assertion that Jobs found himself within that one percent has been corroborated by News Corp journalist Walt Mossberg, who interviewed the technology visionary and recalled him sharing his surprise that "people traded quality, to the extent they had, for convenience or price."

Now as Shakey's slow-trickle release of his ridiculously expansive archive begins to snowball, he's whipped himself into a total frenzy, lusting after the perfect medium for his official Neil Young Archive project.

Currently, the first volume consists of 10 discs, your choice of DVD or Blu Ray. But that's not good enough. So he's calling on the technology industry (or "some rich guy," as he puts it) to develop a machine that can hold music files of substantially greater size.

"I talked to Steve about it," Neil says. "We were working on it. You've got to believe if he lived long enough he would eventually try to do what I'm trying to do."

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