Neil Young to Launch High-Res Music Service in 2013, Unveils Pono Prototype

Neil Young to Launch High-Res Music Service in 2013, Unveils Pono Prototype
Neil Young has been talking about his plans to launch a high-quality audio format for a while now. Entitled Pono, Young's high-resolution music service aims to offer crisp digital audio and supplant the MP3 with superior sound quality. Now, it looks as if Young is close to making his vision a reality.

According to a report from Rolling Stone, Pono will launch next year with portable audio players, a download service, and audio conversion technology. These will apparently offer studio-quality sound, meaning that the songs sound just as good as they did when they were first recorded. The service also works with cloud-based storage.

Young appears to have made headway with the major record companies. He's evidently begun a partnership with Warner Music Group, which converted 8,000 album titles to 192kHz/24-bit sound (compared to CDs, which use 44.1kHz/16-bit sound). And Young and Atlantic Records boss Craig Kallman reportedly met with Universal and Sony, but so far there's no official word on those companies' participation.

Young's audio format already has some fans as well.

"It's not like some vague thing that you need dogs' ears to hear. It's a drastic difference," Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea told Rolling Stone, adding, "MP3s suck. It's just a shadow of the music."

And just in case you were wondering — digital files in other formats will play on Pono devices, meaning that you won't need to re-purchase your whole music library.

Last night (September 27), Young explained a bit about the player and unveiled a prototype on Late Show with David Letterman. As you can see, it's a little bigger than an iPod, but it can stand up or rest on its side, which is pretty neat. Check it out below.