Neil Young Contends Steve Jobs Wanted Better Audio

Posted by at 5:03 pm on January 31, 2012

Musician Neil Young in an interview at the D: Dive Into Media conference made the contentious claim that Apple’s late chief Steve Jobs would have been pushing hard for improved audio quality. The “Needle and the Damage Done” creator claimed that Jobs, despite creating the iPod for digital music, preferred to listen to vinyl records at home. Apple’s co-founder would have allegedly been working on higher quality devices, not just formats like Apple Lossless, to improve audio quality.

To Young, digital music was good but threw away too much of the data in compression. Although not mentioned in the summary of the interview, the artist suggested that even a format like Apple Lossless to him still only had about 10 percent of the original quality. Listeners had been pushed into choosing “between quality and convenience,” a decision they didn’t have to make, he argued in a revisit of earlier views.

It’s not apparent how well, if at all, technology could reach Young’s targets. Apple Lossless, and earlier high-end formats like FLAC, were designed specifically to preserve everything included in the recording.

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