Neil Young continues his peculiar path through the contemporary music industry with the announcement of an interactive online archive of his music catalog.Young writes that the archive is as much a record-keeping exercise for himself as a resource for fans. The archive appears to represent some of the concepts Young has emphasized heavily in recent years, such as audio quality and recognition for the many people who participate in music production.
The Neil Young Archive is also tied to his Xstream streaming platform and will use the audio quality technology powering that service. The tech behind Xstream Music adjusts to play the best audio quality possible for a user’s given location and bandwidth.
The artist’s note announcing the archive does not set a timeline for when it will launch.
Young’s music tech efforts over the past few years have been unusual. He’s one of the most vocal critics for digital music ventures, but audio quality has been his biggest soapbox. That’s the reason he has cited when removing (and eventually returning) his catalog from streaming platforms. He crowdfunded a multimillion dollar business called Pono Music that promised audio quality as good as master recordings and a proprietary portable music player for listening to those files. In April, Young announced that Pono is being transformed into Xstream, a more traditional-sounded streaming service.