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  1. #1

    Neil Young Trademarks New Audio Format

    Neil Young has long since been a disciple for high quality music. He's even released a 10 Blu-ray disc collection of 128 tracks, all presented in 24-bit/192 Khz stereo PCM state-of-the-art master quality sound.

    Recently, Young filed papers with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, that indicate he is developing a high-resolution audio alternative to the MP3 format. Interested yet?

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    The story in Rollingstone says, according to the filed documents, Young applied for six trademarks last June: Ivanhoe, 21st Century Record Player, Earth Storage, Storage Shed, Thanks for Listening and SQS (Studio Quality Sound). Included in the filing is a description of the trademarks: "Online and retail store services featuring music and artistic performances; high resolution music downloadable from the internet; high resolutions discs featuring music and video; audio and video recording storage and playback." The address on file corresponds to that of Vapor Records, Young's label. (Young's representatives declined Rolling Stone's request for comment.)

    Young faces about a year of paperwork before the government will register his trademarks. Last week, they were approved for publication in a public journal for 30 days, a step that allows competitors to challenge Young if they find his registration harmful. The journal is set to be published later this month; if the trademarks face no opposition or snags, Young must then file documents detailing how he intends to use the trademarks, which the government could register as early as the holidays, according to the filing schedule.

    A press release issued last September by Penguin Group imprint Blue Rider Press, which is publishing Young's upcoming memoir, may have revealed the working title of Young's entire project. In addition to the memoir, says the release, "Young is also personally spearheading the development of Pono, a revolutionary new audio music system presenting the highest digital resolution possible, the studio quality sound that artists and producers heard when they created their original recordings. Young wants consumers to be able to take full advantage of Pono's cloud-based libraries of recordings by their favorite artists and, with Pono, enjoy a convenient music listening experience that is superior in sound quality to anything ever presented."

    Such a service would allow music fans to download audio files that sound like the studio recordings of the past, as opposed to the über-compressed song files that are currently available at MP3 stores like iTunes and Amazon. (When reached for comment, a Penguin Group representative directed Rolling Stone back to Young's publicist.)
    Young has a history of paying close attention to audio quality. His 1968 debut LP was one of the first albums to be mixed with the short-lived Haeco-CSG technology, which improved the sound of stereo albums played on mono equipment. Young has also been heavily involved with the remixing and remastering of his catalog for years.

    In the last year, the rocker has also been increasingly vocal about his frustration with the sound quality of digital music. On January 31st, during an appearance at the D: Dive into Media conference in California, Young proposed that "some rich guy" should create "a modern-day iPod for the 21st Century" featuring studio-quality resolution. "When I started making records, we had a hundred percent of the sound," said Young. "And then you listen to it as an MP3 at the same volume – people leave the room. It hurts...It's not that digital is bad or inferior. It's that the way it's being used is not sufficient to transfer the depth of the art." According to Young, a typical download contains only five percent of the data that an original analog recording master offers, and the average studio-quality audio file requires roughly 30 minutes to download because of its uncompressed size.

    Young also said that he met with Apple CEO Steve Jobs before his death last fall, and that the two discussed the possibility of developing a device similar to an iPod that could store roughly 30 studio-quality albums. "We were working on it," said Young. "Steve Jobs was a pioneer of digital music. But when he went home, he listened to vinyl. And you've gotta believe that if he'd lived long enough, he would eventually have done what I'm trying to do."

  2. #2
    Owner-Publisher Jerry Del Colliano's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    West Los Angeles, California


    Tim Duffy from Simply Home Entertainment saw him last Friday outside of the hospital where Baby Enzo was born - smoking a cig.

    Neil Young GETS music in HD. I love the idea that he's in with Jobs' and Apple. I wish their camp would call me so I could get them in with others who care. There are MANY who do. Apple being the MOST important.

  3. #3

    This article gave me the chills. I think what he's trying to do is incredibly cool and I hope he can make it happen without Steve Jobs. It might take him
    longer though.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Andrew Robinson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    I wish him luck but at the same time don't see it happening for the generation of listeners he would have to convert a) probably don't know who he is and b) don't care about music in the same way Young and others like him do. Furthermore, if Jobs was in on it, his death has to be a HUGE setback for Young and his fledgling format for without the power of iTunes and Apple behind it Young may be nothing more than the inventor of yet another fringe audio format; putting him amongst the ranks of SACD, DVD-Audio and others (yes there were others).

    Furthermore, there is A LOT more that goes into allowing listeners to hear their favorite music the way it was created in the studio than simply giving it to them in a higher resolution format. Please don't get me wrong, higher-res music helps, but the article cites a 30 album player, which suggests portability -i.e. headphones. Now there are good headphones, even better headphones and outright great headphones. But there are also shitty headphones. The same holds true for home audio systems, all of which play a crucial role in achieving ultimate fidelity. Again, I'm not suggesting Young abandon his quest, not at all, but I do wish professionals would stop looking at and/or obsessing over a singular variable in a chain that is filled with variables. The same thing is happening with 4K. I know change begins with a step and higher resolution music is an important first step the way this article and even Young himself frame the argument make it seem as if its THE ONLY factor keeping us from musical nirvana.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    NSW mid north coast Australia

    For those who do care about music, in what ever forms, they will usually have the best systems they can afford. And these days it doesn't cost the earth to get a setup which will take advantage of any improvement to digital media within the range and specs. of its components.
    I am passionate about music and its fidelity is paramount. Our system is like the Curate's Egg but within its constraints I am happy with its performance.
    We bought the Chet Atkins "Sails" K2 HD Mastering CD the other day - and its purity blows our socks off - even through our 5 disc changer player "transport" to DacMagic to classic Nakamichi IA-1 and then to the Tannoy Canterbury SEs.
    I believe that improving digital processing is for everyone; with the most humble of gear, and up to the pinnacles which many of us can only dream of.
    Bring it on, Neil Young, go to the source. Build it and they will come.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2002

    At best this will end up like DVD-A and SACD, oh wait! Maybe that's a worst case senario!

    For every one of us that actually cares about the quality of the recordings they listen to there are 2 MILLION people that just don't care!
    It's sad, I know.
    Blame Steve Jobs and Apple.
    They made people believe that listening to clipped, distorted and anemic audio was acceptable so people stopped buying CD's.

    Compared to iTunes and MP3's, CD's ARE HD music!!

    Every person who ever bought a lossy music player - which is all of them - has their part in the poor availability of "good" digital music.
    You fed the monster - now he knows what you want and he's gonna make more!
    I can understand why 15-20 years ago file size was a consideration. That's no longer the case.
    FLAC and SHN proved that you could have lossless audio from a compressed WAV(although for burning you should always decode back to WAV)

    Unfortunately the A/V market as a whole is shrinking. Look at the numbers.
    As it continues to shrink you'll see more and more middle-shelf makers falling by the wayside.
    You don't need full range speakers when you only listen to limited range music!
    You don't need an A/V receiver when you listen to everything off a flash drive and watch everything on your smart phone.
    Radio? What's a radio?
    You see what I'm getting at....

    Ours in the last generation interested in music and it's meaning.
    Our great grandchildren won't even know what a CD is, much less use one!
    Whatever happened to Columbia Tape and Record club?
    WOW! I wish somebody would sell me 12 useless CD's for a penny now!(Somebody NOT on Craigslist!)

    One thing's for sure - Neil ain't doing it for the money!

  7. #7

    Quote Originally Posted by Tylersaysuzsoap View Post
    One thing's for sure - Neil ain't doing it for the money!
    I would imagine that Neil is pretty well set. He's always been about the audio quality. He should team up with other audio pioneers like Alan Parsons.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2002

    Quote Originally Posted by Tracy Rainwater View Post
    I would imagine that Neil is pretty well set. He's always been about the audio quality. He should team up with other audio pioneers like Alan Parsons.
    I was implying more that he's not gonna make any!
    Neil's doing fine!


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