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Friday Finds: Neil Young Archives

Friday Finds shares media content I’ve recently discovered and find interesting enough to share

Today’s find: Neil Young Archives 
Genre: Rock music
Origin: Neil Young and various record companies
Find it: NeilYoungArchives.com

Neil Young Archives homepage

Today, Friday Finds enters the music arena to share information about Neil Young’s new archival website. If you’re a fan of Young (or CSNY or Buffalo Springfield), read on… and if you don’t recognize any of those bands, you are excused from reading further but should really consider the hole there must be in your (music) life.

The Neil Young Archives site combines several media to present really interesting insights into Young’s long and varied career. Most importantly, it has all of his music available in streaming format – original releases, live cuts, and some alternative cuts – presented in the high fidelity format Young prefers.

This Note’s For You

As some of you may know, the cantankerous older Young has railed for years against the effects of compression on the quality of music playback. According to Young, CDs have only about 20% of the audio information that is found on vinyl, and MP3s only about 5%. The Archives songs stream at a high resolution (about 4,000 KB/sec, compared with the standard streaming speed of 320 KB/sec), although the slower speed can be selected if your equipment will not support the higher resolution. Of course, to make this really worthwhile and pick up the differences, you need to play through proper speakers.

Neil Young Archives file exampleIn addition to the music, there are also other archival materials available. The site is set up as a virtual file cabinet for each album, with a file folder for each album and song.  The file for a song shows its recording details as well as tabs for related documents (such as handwritten original lyric sheets or gold record certifications), photos, and memorabilia (such as covers for 45 singles). There are also buttons for the final official lyrics and for videos (sometimes of the song, sometimes of interviews about the song).

Long May You Run

That’s the very quick overview of the site – there is a lot to explore. The site went live on December 1 to be free to use for six months until May 1. A recent L.A. Times interview with Young about the archive project can be found here.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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