Neil Young expects to launch Pono, a music service based on a new high-definition audio format that the rock musician is spearheading, early next year.
Young made the announcement in a Facebook post Tuesday, adding that the Pono team has been focused on fine-tuning the new format, which he said has "liberated the music of the artist from the digital file and restored it to its original artistic quality -- as it was in the studio."
Young also offered a little more insight into the process behind his new format.
"Pono starts at the source: artist-approved studio masters we've been given special access to," he writes in the post. "Then we work with our brilliant partners at Meridian to unlock the richness of the artist's music to you. There is nothing like hearing this music -- and we are working hard to make that experience available to all music lovers, soon."
Young went on to say that his project planned to launch a Pono portable music player like the one he showed off a year ago on "The Late Show with David Letterman" (see video below), as well as a library of music based on the format. According to Wired, Young has already secured remaster agreements with the "big three" music labels: Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, and Sony Music.
The project, which is apparently the result of Young's long-standing dissatisfaction with the quality of MP3s, came to light last year after Young applied for a series of trademarks for what appeared to be potential names for a new high-definition audio format. The description for the trademarks referred to "online and retail store services featuring music and artistic performances, high resolution music downloadable from the Internet, high resolutions discs featuring music and video, and pre-recorded digital media featuring audio and video recordings for storage and playback."
Rolling Stone magazine, which first reported on the trademark applications, suggested that "such a service would allow music fans to download audio files that sound like the studio recordings of the past, as opposed to the uber-compressed song files that are currently available at MP3 stores like iTunes and Amazon."
Young showing off a portable Pono device last year for Letterman: