Neil Young Pens New Book Detailing Quest to Save High-Quality Digital Music

Between recording new material with Crazy Horse and digging through his fertile archives, Neil Young managed to make time to pen another book: To Feel the Music: A Songwriter’s Quest to Save High-Quality Audio finds Young discussing digital music, from his short-lived Pono device to the Neil Young Archives, as well as his pursuit to improve the medium’s sound quality.

To Feel the Music is the story of my efforts to improve the quality of audio that you hear,” Young wrote of the book in his NYA Times-Contrarian. To Feel the Music, co-written by Phil Baker, is available to preorder now ahead of its September 9th release.

“It takes you through how the sound was and is compromised by the tech and record companies, and instead of improving over time like other technologies, it has become worse,” Young continued.


“Our book also tells the business and development story behind Pono, and then, when people wanted the convenience of streaming, how we developed Xstream high resolution streaming, the highest quality streaming in the world, as you hear it at [Neil Young Archives].”

Young, who withdrew his music from digital music services for a period as protest of their subpar sound quality, launched a Kickstarter for his Pono player in 2014; at the time, the device delivered what was promised as the highest quality digital music available. However, the device failed to catch on with the masses, and Young instead shifted his efforts toward the high-res Xstream, which delivers high-quality audio to the Neil Young Archives.

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,” the book’s synopsis states. “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.”

“The issue of improving audio quality has been one of the most important things we’ve been doing for decades, and something I focus on every day,” Young added. “We spent a year writing this and I think you’ll find it interesting and informative. The book will be released September 9 and I hope you enjoy it.”

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