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Neil Young Plans Pono Launch for 2014

New audio service will offer high-quality audio alternative to MP3s

Neil Young performs in Paris.
David Wolff - Patrick/Redferns via Getty Images
September 4, 2013 4:55 PM ET

Neil Young's music service Pono, which will provide listeners with downloads of high-resolution songs made to sound like their initial recordings, is almost ready to roll. It's set to launch in early 2014, according to a Facebook post written by Young.

"The simplest way to describe what we've accomplished is that we've liberated the music of the artist from the digital file and restored it to its original artistic quality – as it was in the studio," wrote Young. "So it has primal power."

Neil Young Trademarks New Audio Format

Along with an online library of songs, Pono will release a line of portable players as well as digital-to-analog conversion technology. The project was designed as an alternative to the compressed, often lower-quality audio that listeners get with MP3s.

"PONO starts at the source: artist-approved studio masters we've been given special access to," Young continued. "Then we work with our brilliant partners at Meridian to unlock the richness of the artist's music to you. There is nothing like hearing this music - and we are working hard to make that experience available to all music lovers, soon."

No word yet on just how big the Pono library will be, but the company has struck a deal with Warner Music Group, and as of last year, it was reportedly in talks with the other two labels in the Big Three — Universal Music Group and Sony Music — about contributing remastered versions of their catalogues.

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