XStream close-up: Neil Young announces high-res streaming service for Pono

Neil Young, ever the arbitrator of high-quality music, has announced that he is launching a new streaming service for Pono, his all-singing all-dancing music player.

Pono is Neil Young's answer to the rubbish low-quality audio spewing from the orifices of the world's streaming services. Initially a Kickstarter project, the player has been on sale for getting on two years now and did have its very own music store. 

This was shutdown, however, due to Omnifone, the folks behind it, going into administration. 

Young has revealed that in its place there will be a brand-new streaming service. 

XStream dream

Back in December 2016, Young hinted that a high-res streaming service was coming but all rumors pointed to it being called simply Pono. 

He's obviously decided that's far too boring a name and has instead gone with the 'down with the kids' moniker XStream. 


According to Young, XStream is all about offering quality, regardless of your connection strength, explaining on the Pono community blog: "Unlike all other streaming services that are limited to playing at a single low or moderate resolution, XStream plays at the highest quality your network condition allows at that moment and adapts as the network conditions change. 

"It’s a single high resolution bit-perfect file that essentially compresses as needed to never stop playing."

Sounds great - and very Pied Piper - but Young hasn't actually released any other details about the service so we don't know when it will go live or how much it is going to cost. 

He did hint that we will see something "very soon" and he won't slap a premium price on it, either. 

Back in the room

The service marks a significant turnaround for Young who gave up streaming in 2015. 

Posting on Facebook at the time, he said: "Streaming has ended for me. I hope this is ok for my fans.

"I don't need my music to be devalued by the worst quality in the history of broadcasting or any other form of distribution. I don't feel right allowing this to be sold to my fans. It's bad for my music.

"For me, It's about making and distributing music people can really hear and feel. I stand for that.

"When the quality is back, I'll give it another look. Never say never."

That sound you hear is quality arriving back in the room and it's brought a mate. A mate called XStream. Cool.

Via The Verge

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.