PERFORMING ARTS

To Feel the Music: A Songwriter’s Mission To Save High-Quality Audio

BenBella. Sept. 2019. 242p. photos. ISBN 9781948836388. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781948836630. MUSIC
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For singer-songwriter Young (Waging Heavy Peace), music is meant to be felt deeply and experienced, and for decades he has lamented that the quality of recorded music presentation has progressively decreased since the advent of the compact disc, with each digital advance diminishing the listening experience. With coauthor and business partner Baker, Young chronicles his attempt to combat the problem through a grassroots campaign to create the Pono music player and music store. The affordable and high-quality player tried to re-create the sound the artists originally intended. The story involves technological development, fundraising (eventually with a successful Kickstarter campaign), business negotiation, and product creation and experimentation, but, ultimately, while reviews were mostly positive, the Pono faced daunting economic and business challenges and its online store closed.
VERDICT Young remains a crusader for high-quality audio, and he tells a fascinating tale, albeit with much technical and business narrative detail, which will appeal mostly to tech, business, and music buffs interested in the future of how we consume, preserve, and listen to recorded music.

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