In a statement sure to bring joy to audio purists, classic rocker Neil Young issued an update Tuesday on the state of his Pono Music project, which he hopes will one day “save listeners” from the compressed sound quality of MP3’s.
“The simplest way to describe what we’ve accomplished is that we’ve liberated the music of the artist from the digital file and restored it to its original artistic quality - as it was in the studio,” Young wrote on the official Pono Facebook page this week. “Our mission is also to make Pono just as accessible as any music you buy and listen to today.”
Eyeing an early 2014 launch for the project’s Pono music portable player, which will be a direct competitor of the iPod, the singer of such hits as “Rockin’ in the Free World” and “Heart of Gold” has already teamed with the Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and Sony Music, encouraging the “big three” to convert their audio libraries to higher sound quality in preparation of being made available through Young’s service.
But the former Buffalo Springfield member isn’t the only artist to throw his hat into the audio distribution ring. The Warner Music Group has also already invested millions of dollars into another venture spearheaded by rapper/ producer Dr. Dre. The “Beats Music” project, formerly known as Project Daisy, has been described as an “internet music service,” where listeners can create their own playlists, much like the project’s competing streaming service Spotify. However, one big difference between the two companies is the involvement of Nine Inch Nails’ artist Trent Reznor, who has helped design the “Beats Music” service, emphasizing the importance of “intelligent curation” with recommendations coming from “connoisseurs.”
Speaking of Reznor, the artist made waves last week in an interview with Spin Magazine, where he declared the cost of what listeners should be willing to pay for his music.
“I’m saying my personal feeling is that my album’s not a dime,” Reznor said. “It’s not a buck. I made it as well as I could, and it costs 10 bucks, or go fuck yourself.”
Though his comments garnered flak from others, who cited the hypocrisy of Reznor previously releasing albums for free online only now to release his band’s latest work Hesitation Marks via a deal with a major label, the Nine Inch Nails frontman also received support from fellow musician, Amanda Palmer.
“When Trent went from doing-it-himself back to using a major label a little while ago, I saw a lot of people bitching about it on Twitter and calling him a ‘traitor’ or whatever,” Palmer wrote on her blog. “I totally stood by and defended his decision to work with a label. He can do what he wants. Why the fuck not?”
Later declaring, “IT’S THE ARTIST’S DECISION. LET THE ARTIST DECIDE,” Palmer also seemed to harbor no ill will towards Reznor, even though in his Spin interview the singer seemed to make a snide comment in her direction, saying, “I know that what we’re doing flies in the face of the Kickstarter Amanda-Palmer-Start-a-Revolution thing, which is fine for her, but I’m not super-comfortable with the idea of Ziggy Stardust shaking his cup for scraps.”
Palmer responded, “Even though I may never do it like NIN, or like Radiohead, or like Miley Cyrus, I think whatever path they choose is fine. Use a label. Don’t use a label. Make mainstream music. Make loud dissonant noise. Twerk your brains out. Being an artist is about forging your own path (in content and in business practice) and following your own path.”
And to think I almost made it all the way to the end of this blog post without mentioning Miley Cyrus or twerking…maybe next time.
For more information on Neil Young, Pono Music, Beats Music or Trent Reznor, please visit the following websites: www.neilyoung.warnerreprise.com, www.mypono.com, www.beatsmusic.com, www.nin.com.
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