UPDATE: The Neil Young Archives will be open on December 1st, in conjunction with the release of The Visitor. Neil Young announced the news via Facebook. He also revealed that, at least initially, the entire archive would be available for free.
“December 1st will be a big day for me. The Visitor will be coming to your town. I will be going to my town. You will be able to hear me and see me. My archive will open on that same day, a place you can visit and experience every song I have ever released in the highest quality your machine will allow,” the artist wrote. “It’s the way it’s supposed to be. In the beginning, everything is free.”
Three months after Neil Young first revealed his plans for a new high-definition streaming service, the singer detailed his upcoming digital archives, which will feature both Young’s entire catalog as well as soon-to-be-completed “unreleased albums.”
“Every single, recorded track or album I have produced is represented,” the singer wrote in a note posted on the Neil Young Archives website, which will allow users to virtually stroll Young’s catalog from 1963 to now.
“View all albums currently released and see albums still unreleased and in production just by using the controls to zoom through the years. Unreleased album art is simply penciled in so you can where unreleased albums will appear on the timeline, once they are completed.”
One such lost LP will likely include Young’s just-announced Hitchhiker, an all-acoustic LP that he recorded in 1976 but never released.
Each song and album in the Neil Young Archives, arranged in a “Filing Cabinet,” will be accompanied by an always-updating “Info Card” containing pertinent song information, anecdotes, press clippings, videos, photographs and more.
Young, a longtime critic of digital music quality, also explained how the Xstream Music – a high resolution “adaptive streaming service” (and, as Pitchfork points out, the name of the entertainment company on Fox’s Empire) – will vary the quality of the stream depending on the bandwidth the user has available.
At its best, XStream will deliver super high-res, 6,000-kilobits-per-second (kbps) quality to visitors of the Neil Young Archives; for visitors using data on their mobile devices, a 700-kbps stream would still bring compact disc-quality audio. XStream will also have access to the “pure uncompressed masters,” Young promised.
While Young didn’t provide an arrival date for the Archives, the site states it is “coming soon.”