Neil Young is nothing if not confused in recent years. From his comments about streaming music quality (I was there. AM radio kicked streaming’s ass. Analog Cassettes and 8 tracks also kicked streaming’s ass, and absolutely rocked compared to streaming) to his snake oil about digital music in general (only “5 percent of the data present in the original recording” is present in MP3 files), Mr Young has shown that he simply doesn’t understand a lot of things.
His latest claim, in a Rolling Stone interview, is as quizzical as many of his other statements. Mr Young said:
…it’s like nothing that I’ve done. It’s more like a giant radio show. It has no stops. The songs are too long for iTunes, thank God, so they won’t be on iTunes. I’m making it available in the formats that can handle it.
Too long for iTunes…? Are the songs three hours long? (I hope not, for his listeners.)
No, it sounds like Mr Young is saying that his album – “like a giant radio show” – will feature songs that flow together, or segue. But why would they be too long? If they fit on a CD, they’re not too long for iTunes or any other digital music marketplace.
Here’s one example: Dennis Johnson’s November, played by R. Andrew Lee. The work is about five hours long, and it is divided into four CD-length tracks:
Unless Mr Young’s songs are more than the length of a CD, I don’t see a problem. (And even if they are, I’m pretty sure iTunes can accommodate them; I’ve seen some nature sound recordings that are two hours long.)
Poor Neil Young… He just says the darnedest things. Because he goes on to describe this album a bit more:
It’s like a live show, but it’s not like a live show. Imagine it’s a live show where the audience is full of every living thing on earth — all of the animals and insects and amphibians and birds and everybody — we’re all represented. And also they overtake the music once in a while and play the instruments. It’s not conventional … but it is based on live performance.
By the way, I would think that the Rolling Stone interviewer should have asked him what he meant… (Most likely, he meant that the songs couldn’t be sold individually, because on the iTunes Store, songs longer than 10 minutes are album-only.)