Published Apr 04, 2012In this age of lossy MP3s and too-loud mastering, many audiophiles argue that sound quality isn't what it used to be. Neil Young is among those critics, and he's trying to find a solution by developing his own audio format in an apparent attempt to supplant the MP3.
Rolling Stone points out that Young applied for six different trademarks in June 2011. Their names are 21st Century Record Player, Earth Storage Ivanhoe, SQS (Studio Quality Sound), Storage Shed and Thanks for Listening.
Here's how the documents describe the trademark: "Audio and video recordings featuring music and artistic performances; high resolution music downloadable from the internet; high resolutions discs featuring music and video of music and artistic performances; pre-recorded digital media containing audio and video recordings featuring music and artistic performances for storage and playback."
Rolling Stone also points to a prior press release from Blue Rider Press (the publisher that will release Young's memoir) that says this: "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 favourite artists and, with Pono, enjoy a convenient music listening experience that is superior in sound quality to anything ever presented."
It will still be the better part of year before his trademarks can be officially registered, but all of the evidence here suggests that Young is making headway in creating a digital audio format that matches the quality of vinyl. He was reportedly working on this idea with Steve Jobs prior to the Apple CEO's death last year.
The idea of using 21st century technology to capture decades-old quality sounds very similar to Young's LincVolt auto compony, which turned vintage cars into fuel-efficient hybrids. Hopefully this latest idea doesn't go up in flames like that one did.