Neil Young failed when it came to Pono, his high-fidelity music player that sold for $400. It was hard to keep it afloat and cost way too much to keep it on the market. Therefore, Young killed it off. But out of the settling dust, the artist has confirmed a new online music streaming service called Xstream – built in conjunction with Orastream – will be formally unveiled “very soon.”
This service will go up against the likes of leading competitors, including Apple Music and Spotify. One service Xtream will particularly target happens to be Jay Z’s Tidal which also offers high-fidelity music streaming. But in a twist, Xtream will actually offer listeners the best possible music quality based on their internet bandwidth. In other words, if your internet connection is good, you’ll hear music in good quality. If your connection is great, you’ll hear great quality tracks. And if Young places his service properly on the market and pushes it with the likes of exclusive content and fair payment options, Xtream may take off for those looking to stream in higher fidelities when compared to others who offer presets for streaming in Bad, Good, or High qualities.
The news broke in a post to Pono’s community where Young had the following to say regarding Xtream.
So now, sadly with Pono gone, for more than eight months I’ve been working with our small team to look for alternatives. Finding a way to deliver the quality music without the expense and to bring it to a larger audience has been our goal.
That effort has led to a technology developed by Orastream, a small company in Singapore that we’ve been working with. Together we created Xstream, the next generation of streaming, an adaptive streaming service that changes with available bandwidth. It is absolutely amazing because it is capable of complete high resolution playback. 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. As a result, it always sounds better than the other streaming services and it never stops or buffers like other higher res services. When you play it at home with WiFi it can play all established low and high resolutions, including the highest, and thousands more levels of resolution in between. When you are in your car with poor cellular it might play better than an existing low res service, but at a location where robust wifi is available Xstream supports high resolution listening. Xstream is one file, streaming for all with 15,000 seamlessly changing levels of playback quality.