To Feel The Music: A Songwriter's Mission To Save High-quality Audio by Neil YoungTo Feel The Music: A Songwriter's Mission To Save High-quality Audio by Neil Young

To Feel The Music: A Songwriter's Mission To Save High-quality Audio

byNeil Young, Phil Baker

Hardcover | September 10, 2019

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Neil Young took on the music industry so that fans could hear his music—all music—the way it was meant to be heard.

Today, most of the music we hear is com-pressed to a fraction of its original sound,while analog masterpieces are turning to dustin record company vaults. As these record-ings disappear, music fans aren’t just losing acollection of notes. We’re losing spaciousness,breadth of the sound field, and the ability tohear and feel a ping of a triangle or a pluckof a guitar string, each with its own reso-nance and harmonics that slowly trail off intosilence. 

The result is music that is robbed of its original quality—muddy and flat in sound compared to the rich, warm sound artists hear in the studio. It doesn’t have to be this way, but the record and technology companies have incorrectly assumed that most listeners are satisfied with these low-quality tracks.

Neil Young is challenging the assault on audio quality—and working to free music lovers from the flat and lifeless status quo.

To Feel the Music is the true story of his questto bring high-quality audio back to musiclovers—the most important undertaking ofhis career. It’s an unprecedented look insidethe successes and setbacks of creating thePono player, the fights and negotiationswith record companies to preserve master-pieces for the future, and Neil’s unrelentingdetermination to make musical art availableto everyone. It’s a story that shows how muchmore there is to music than meets the ear.

Neil’s efforts to bring quality audio to his fans garnered media attention when his Kickstarter campaign for his Pono player—a revolutionary music player that would combine the highest quality possible with the portability, simplicity and affordability modern listeners crave—became the third-most successful Kickstarter campaign in the website’s history. It had raised more than $6M in pledges in 40 days. Encouraged by the enthusiastic response, Neil still had a long road ahead, and his Pono music player would not have the commercial success he’d imagined. But he remained committed to his mission, and faced with the rise of streaming services that used even lower quality audio, he was determined to rise to the challenge.

An eye-opening read for all fans of Neil Young and all fans of great music, as well as readers interesting in going behind the scenes of product creation, To Feel the Music has an inspiring story at its heart: One determined artist with a groundbreaking vision and the absolute refusal to give up, despite setbacks, naysayers, and skeptics.

Neil Young is one of the world’s most famous musicians, with millions of followers from around the world. He’s a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, producer, director and screenwriter. His music career began in the 1960s, when he formed Buffalo Springfield with Stephen Stills. He joined Crosby, Stills & Nash, and has recorded solo a...
Title:To Feel The Music: A Songwriter's Mission To Save High-quality AudioFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:242 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inShipping dimensions:9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:September 10, 2019Publisher:BenBella Books, Inc.Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1948836386

ISBN - 13:9781948836388


Table of Contents

Contents A Message from Neil xi Introduction 1 CHAPTER 1: The Most Important Thing I’ve Ever Done 7 CHAPTER 2: A Look at Audio Quality 15 CHAPTER 3: How I Discovered We Were Losing the Music 29 CHAPTER 4: Neil Was Not Alone 47 CHAPTER 5: The Birth of Pono 51 CHAPTER 6: Meeting Neil 61 CHAPTER 7: Getting Started 69 CHAPTER 8: Beginning Development 73 CHAPTER 9: Pono Is for and by the Artists 79 CHAPTER 10: Inventing Pono 87 CHAPTER 11: Leadership at Pono 99 CHAPTER 12: A New Direction 111 CHAPTER 13: Our Kickstarter Adventure 117 CHAPTER 14: The Drive from Kickstarter to Production 137 CHAPTER 15: Going to China 141 CHAPTER 16: Building the Pono Music Store 153 CHAPTER 17: More Management Turmoil 161

Editorial Reviews

“To Feel the Music is a fascinating tale about countless intersections: of artistry and technology, of creativity and commerce, of entrepreneurs and organizers, of the individual and the team. It's heartbreaking on some fronts and inspiring in many others. I will never listen to music in quite the same way after reading this book, nor ever again take for granted the ingenuity behind the high-tech devices amid which we live.”—James Fallows, national correspondent, The Atlantic “One of the greatest musicians of all time, Neil Young knows the effort artists put into their work so that their audiences can feel the music. In a very easy-to-understand way, Neil explains how, unlike for photographs or television, each generation of digital technology has further degraded sound quality. Neil and collaborator Phil Baker lay out concrete solutions to restore music fidelity without sacrificing listener convenience in this fascinating read brimming with passion.”—Dan Hesse, retired CEO, Sprint“This book provides backstage access to a fascinating story about the intersection of art, technology, and business. Young and Baker’s passion for their respective crafts is tangible on every page.”—Harry McCracken, technology editor, Fast Company“Neil Young is not only a rock star in the music industry. He has emerged as a rock star in championing and challenging the tech industry to deliver the kind of sound quality that he and other musicians want their audiences to experience as they do when they record their music . . . The book is a call to action for the tech industry to strive to deliver the best audio quality possible, so that those who listen to Neil Young’s songs and music, as well as those from other artists, experience exactly what the artists hear when they create their music.”—Tim Bajarin, president, Creative Strategies, Inc.“The alchemy of product development is rarely shared like this, from a music legend (and it turns out, an enlightened CEO) and a tech veteran, with refreshing candor about the highs and lows of bringing together people, materials, and energy to deliver sound as intended, straight to the soul.”—Louis Kim, vice president, Hewlett-Packard