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Neil Young: Steve Jobs Would've Preserved Vinyl

Digital is degrading music, he says at media conference

January 31, 2012 3:45 PM ET

neil young
Neil Young at the premiere of 'Neil Young Journeys' in Park City, Utah.
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Neil Young wants to preserve the sound quality of current rock recordings – and he believes he had an ally in the late Steve Jobs.

"My goal is to try and rescue the art form that I've been practicing for the past 50 years," Young said during a panel discussion at this week's D: Dive Into Media conference in Southern California. "We live in the digital age and, unfortunately, it's degrading our music, not improving it."

Young explained that "some rich guy" would ultimately offer a solution by creating new hardware to preserve more audio content in digital formats, and heralded Jobs as a like-minded soul. "Steve Jobs [was] a pioneer of digital music, and his legacy is tremendous," Young said. "But when he went home, he listened to vinyl. And you've got to believe that if he'd lived long enough, he would have done what I'm trying to do."

The musician also decried the lessened sound quality of MP3s and other digital media formats, while noting their added convenience. "It's not that digital is bad or inferior, it's that the way it's being used isn't doing justice to the art . . . The convenience of the digital age has forced people to choose between quality and convenience, but they shouldn't have to make that choice," he explained.

Surprisingly, Young revealed that he has no apprehension about illegal fire-sharing, currently a hot-button issue in the wake of Megaupload's closure. "Piracy is the new radio," he said. "That's how music gets around."

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