To Feel the Music: A Songwriter’s Mission to Save High-Quality Audio | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Neil Young and Phil Baker

To Feel the Music: A Songwriter’s Mission to Save High-Quality Audio

Published by BenBella

Oct 17, 2019 Bookmark and Share

In To Feel the Music, Neil Young, along with colleague Phil Baker, chronicle their years-long struggle to make Young’s Pono player a reality and in turn change the way we listen to digital music. Pono was Young’s brainchild, the culmination of years of preaching about the limitations of mp3s and the way in which the industry was capitalizing on poor quality audio. Baker was the man Young brought on to help him realize his vision, and together, in alternating chapters written by each, they describe their journey to Pono and beyond.

Young begins the proceedings by sketching out his reasons for the projects; the limitations of digital and CD audio are discussed and the rationale for a better product detailed. But in many ways, Baker handles the heavy lifting in To Feel the Music. With an intimate knowledge of the specifics of product development, Baker takes the reader step-by-step from Young’s initial vision, through all the hiccups along the way, to the final Pono product. Ultimately, even the downfall of Pono is described, and one can surely feel for Young and Baker. For several reasons, the world wasn’t ready for Pono as a be-all-end-all replacement to all digital product.

But the story has a happy ending, albeit perhaps not a perfect one for Young and Baker. And that is with Young’s Archives project. With it, Young has, to paraphrase this book’s subtitle, saved high-quality audio, setting up an online place for fans to peruse and not only listen to Young’s music, but experience his history and story, in a high-quality audio setting.

Despite Pono’s lack of marketplace traction, the success of To Feel the Music is in the passion Young brings to his mission to save audio. His reasons are just. His dedication bleeds from the page. And you get the feeling, despite any setbacks, he will not stop until we’re all listening to music again the way it was supposed to be heard.

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