Neil Young to release archives on Blu-ray

Speaks at Sun Microsystems conference

Neil Young has reiterated his plans to release his entire music archive on Blu-ray discs, a sign that the discs' capabilities are building appeal among musicians as well as movie studios.

Blu-ray discs hold much more data than DVDs, are easily updated over the Internet and offer better picture and sound quality.

Young discussed his plans Tuesday at a Sun Microsystems conference in San Francisco. Santa Clara-based Sun makes the Java technology that gives Blu-ray discs their interactive menus and ability to accept updates over an Internet connection.

Young first revealed his decision to eschew CDs in favor of Blu-Ray for the archive project at the Sundance Film Festival in January in an interview with Billboard. At that time, he said of the project, "I know it's in technical production now, but it's only coming out on Blu-ray and DVD. There won't be CDs. Technology has caught up to what the concept was in the first place (and) how we're able to actually present it. But there's no doubt it will come out this year."

The first installment of Young's archive will cover the years 1963-72 and will be released as a 10-disc set this fall on Reprise/Warner Bros. Records.

Young said the archives will be released chronologically and include some previously unreleased songs, videos, handwritten manuscripts and other memorabilia, in addition to the high-resolution audio that Blu-ray technology is known for.

Fans can download more content like songs, photos and tour information directly to the Blu-ray discs as the content becomes available.

Blu-ray's rival format HD DVD effectively died with maker Toshiba Corp.'s announcement in February that it will no longer produce HD DVD players.

Most of the Blu-ray discs manufactured so far have been used for high-definition movies.

Musical artists such as AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen and Destiny's Child released concert videos on Blu-ray discs, but Young's support of the technology for his ambitious archive project demonstrates more fully the capabilities of Blu-ray as a music medium.

Earlier technology didn't offer the ability to browse archive material while listening to songs in high-resolution audio, Young noted.

"Previous technology required unacceptable quality compromises," he said. "I am glad we waited and got it right."
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