Neil Young Archive will be free at launch on December 1

Here’s an update for those of you following the yarn of Neil Young in the digital music space. In August, the rocker announced plans to make his entire catalog available in an online archive. Now, the Neil Young Archive has a planned launch date of December 1. It will use Xstream technology to provide music at the highest audio quality available on the listener’s machine.

The most surprising wrinkle here is that, at least at launch, the archive will be available to stream for free.

Young has been one of the more vocal critics when it comes to online music. He launched a crowdfunding campaign (that secured many, many millions) to create his own platform offering master-quality audio files. He took his music off streaming platforms, citing audio quality as his main reason. For as much critique as he’s hurled at streaming, the choice to then make his own work available for free, even for a short time, is downright strange. He didn’t give a reason for the decision in his Facebook post with the news, and at this stage, all we can do is guess at the rationale.

Anna Washenko