Neil Young takes on iTunes with new music streaming service Pono

Young says his high-resolution music service will "save the sound of music"

Neil Young is set to take on iTunes with a new high-resolution music service designed to combat the compressed audio offered by MP3s.

Launching next year, Young’s service Pono will offer a music download service, portable music players, and digital-to-analogue conversion technology. The aim is to present songs as they first sounded when they were recorded, Rolling Stone reports.

In his book Waging Heavy Peace, which is out this week, Young explains how Pono will help to “save the sound of music”. The title reportedly refers to the response Young gave to a friend when asked if he was waging a war on Apple with his new service.

Young claims in the book that had emailed Steve Jobs about Pono before his death last October: “I have consistently reached out to try to assist Apple with true audio quality, and I have even shared my high-resolution masters with them,” he writes, before stating that his service will “force iTunes to be better and to improve quality at a faster pace.”

Apple launched it’s Mastered For iTunes programme last year, which requires engineers to change audio quality based on the listener’s location – such as on a flight, on a bus, or a club. However, its critics argue that it still doesn’t offer the sound quality options that Pono will.

Young has teamed up with Craig Kallman – chairman of Atlantic Records, to create the project. Atlantic’s parent company Warner Music Group home to Muse and Black Keys – has already converted its catalogue of 8,000 albums to high-resolution sound. The two other big labels Universal and Sony have reportedly been approached with the idea too.