Photo: Richard Lui / USA Today

Neil Young Blasts Record Labels for Ending His Pono Music Service

February 15, 2018

By Scott T. Sterling

Neil Young is pointing fingers.

The classic rock legend opened up during a new interview about his much-discussed but short-lived his-res downloading service and accompanying player, Pono.

Young put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the labels.

“The record labels killed it,” Young told the L.A. Times. “They killed it by insisting on charging two to three times as much for the high-res files as for MP3s. Why would anybody pay three times as much?”

Young reflected on Pono while detailing his recently revealed online music archive, a one-stop shop for all things Neil Young, from studio recordings to rarities, movies, and more.

“It’s my feeling that all music should cost the same,” he added in regards to Pono. “The [hi-res] file doesn’t cost any more to transfer. And today with streaming, you don’t have the problem [of unauthorized file sharing]. Who wants to copy something if you can stream it? The record companies, by charging three times as much for hi-res music as they charge for regular music, they’ve killed hi-res music. It’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.”

As for his new streaming archive, Young encourages other artists to follow suit and create their own online hi-res archives.

“There’s nothing stopping anybody else from doing this,” he stressed. “The record companies are in the way with the high prices. There should be hi-res streaming services everywhere.”