Fed up with iTunes and Apple Music’s low audio quality, Neil Young has decided to take a different approach: He figured he might as well just put all his music on the internet for free at the absolute highest quality. So that’s what he did.
Look, we’re not gonna waste your time here and bury the lede. If you just want to immediately go over to the website, here’s the link.
As he explained in an open letter introducing the archive, Young intends the website to be something of a “living document.” It seems to have everything a Neil Young aficionado could ever want: Not just limiting itself to Young’s established catalog, it also has scores of unreleased songs that were scrapped and either dropped or used in another album. Plus, it has information on movies about and involving Young, and promises to have live streams for fans. Young says it’ll start by streaming a special concert from Ontario tonight.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the project is that Young clearly signed off on it because he was so dissatisfied with Apple’s audio quality. Pointing out that Apple built its name on music, he finds it baffling that they don’t have higher tiers of quality. The Neil Young Archives have an option to stream the songs at either the standard 320 kbps, or at Master quality. You can toggle the quality at any time.
There are three different ways to browse the entire catalog of songs. You could get lost for days in there. So go. Do so.
In case we haven’t yet lost you to the depths of the archive, you might enjoy the below, a 1998 Neil Young performance from the Paste Cloud.