Steve Jobs listened to vinyl at home... because it sounded better than his iPod

Steve JobsSteve Jobs
Neil YoungNeil Young

He transformed how we buy and listen to songs, but when it came to his own music collection, Steve Jobs preferred to take it back to basics. The creator of the iPod chose to listen to vinyl records when he was at home rather than use more modern gadgets, Neil Young has claimed. The rocker, speaking at a technology conference, said the Apple founder preferred the sound compared to the iPod's digitally-compressed files.

'Steve Jobs was a pioneer of digital music. His legacy is tremendous,' Young said. 'But when he went home, he listened to vinyl.' Speaking at the D: Dive Into Media conference in Southern California, Young said he had spoken to Jobs about creating a format that allowed the music to stay truer to its original form - rather than being compressed.

While modern formats, like MP3, are convenient, they do not represent the original sound of the music, the 66-year-old singer-songwriter said. Instead, a new format would contain 100 per cent of the data created in a recording studio rather than the five per cent in compressed formats. But he added that due to the size of the files, a device might only be able to hold 30 albums and each song would take 30 minutes to download. Suggesting users could download songs overnight, Young said: 'Sleep well. Wake up in the morning. 'Play some real music and listen to the joy of 100 percent of the sound of music.' While Young admitted there was no practical plan in place to develop the format, he said Jobs was keen to get involved before he died in October from pancreatic cancer. 'I talked to Steve about it. We were working on it,' Young said. 'You've got to believe if he lived long enough he would eventually try to do what I'm trying to do.' He added that he hoped it was a project 'some rich guy' would take on.

Interviewer Walt Mossberg said Jobs had expressed surprise that 'people traded quality, to the extent they had, for convenience or price'. Young agreed: 'The convenience of the digital age has forced people to choose between quality and convenience, but they shouldn’t have to make that choice.' He added: 'My goal is to try and rescue the art form that I’ve been practicing for the past 50 years. 'We live in the digital age and, unfortunately, it’s degrading our music, not improving it.' Jobs, who launched the first iPod in 2001, was a music collector, particularly enjoying the sounds of the sixties.

Walter Isaacson explains in his biography of the Apple founder that Jobs once collected concert records by Bob Dylan - particularly from his electric period in 1965 and 1966. His iPod also had songs from seven Beatles albums and six Rolling Stones albums, Isaacson wrote. But it was 'Dylan’s words [that] struck chords of creative thinking,' Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, told the biographer.

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