Steve Jobs and Neil Young were rockin' in the free world

Posted by Shane McGlaun

Classic rock legend Neil Young has confirmed that he and the late Steve Jobs were working to create a new audio format.

According to the godfather of grunge, the new format would have revolutionized the sound quality of digital music for audio fans.

Steve Jobs and Neil Young were rockin' in the free worldAs Young points out, digital MP3s and other current formats are only capable of capturing approximately 5% of the audio data generated in a studio.

Meaning, the typical digital track loses about 95% of the detail and depth that the artist puts into a song. The musician also told AllThingsD that even today's highest resolution digital audio formats pale in comparison to the sound quality heard on traditional vinyl albums from the 70s.

Young is apparently the one who approached Jobs and pitched the idea of working together to create a new audio file to restore the missing 95%. Since Apple is a huge driving force in the digital music revolution with the iPod and iTunes platform, Young was especially keen on working with Jobs to revitalize the digital format.

"We live in the digital age, and we are - unfortunately - we only have 5% of the content we used to have in the mainstream," Young explained. "It's not that digital is bad or inferior. It's that the way that it is being used is not sufficient to transfer the depth of the art."

The digital format Young and Jobs were working on would have delivered sound on par with the highest resolution music recording studios are capable of today – 24/192 files. One huge problem that still has to be overcome? How to store and transfer such massive files.

Indeed, as Apple Insider notes, the new high-resolution format would take about 30 minutes per track to download, while devices would require significantly higher storage capacities for multiple albums and tracks.

"[Yes], the technology exists. The Internet is [even] fast enough to support it... And you could store like 30 albums at high-res in a small device that you could carry around in your pocket like an iPhone.

"[Sure], Steve Jobs was a pioneer of digital music. His legacy is tremendous. But when he went home, he listened to vinyl. And you gotta believe that if he lived long enough, he would have eventually done what I'm trying to do," he added.