Neil Young, Massachusetts’ most “distinctive” artist, just might revolutionize digital music today at SXSW

A recent blog by Paul Lamere of Echo Nest (in Somerville, MA) claims to have analyzed listener data from music streaming services to determine the most “distinctive” artists by state.  His method is very interesting, if a tad wonkish (see his explanation here). Essentially the most “distinctive” artist for Massachusetts is the artist that is very popular in MA, but NOT very popular in other states — and, based on Paul Lamere’s study, that artist is Neil Young, who is scheduled to unveil his new, studio-quality music service and device called Pono, at 5pm today at South by Southwest (more here).

Artists LOVE this new sound.  Check out what they have to say in Neil Young’s Kickstarter campaign for Pono, here.  Even if Pono is a flop, the mere fact that people who make music are finally talking about good quality sound in the digital age is a major breakthrough.  Who knows where this revolution will lead, but you can say you were there (even if only via the Internet) when Neil Young Started it.

I guess we should all be proud to live in Massachusetts!  Perhaps the boys can play a little Neil Young tonight at Jalapenos in his honor!


  • What! You mean everyone doesn’t love Neil Young!! What’s not to love??? Thanks for the very interesting information!


    • You’re most welcome. And I agree, what’s not to love? I didn’t check which states Neil Young is not popular in, but I’d guess it’s probably the bible belt.


  • Very good history and nice post thanks 🙂 Dave
    Grew up on Neil young as young teen Buffalo Springfield, CSNY and then this Album (Everybody knows this is nowhere with crazy horse). Survivor for sure 🙂

    Heart of Gold – Neil Young (lyrics on screen)


  • The Pono concept is interesting but I think there is a very small niche that might be interested in it. Hopefully it will be successful.


    • When I was a kid, only a small niche cared about sound quality too. Most everybody had a transistor radio and listened to AM. Then stereo was introduced. I remember going with my father to get a second speaker after he and I built a stereo amp together. What a thrill it was to hook it up and listen to the “stereo effects” record we got at Sam Goody — ping-pong, train whistles, tap dancing across a room. My mother thought the whole thing was ridiculous. Then we got our first stereo record — The Beatles Rubber Soul. There were two separate bins at Sam Goody for this record – one for the mono version; another for stereo. Now every recording is in stereo. So who knows? Perhaps high-quality recordings will replace MP3 and become mainstream.


      • I think that only hope for high quality lossless audio to become mainstream in the US is if storage keeps getting larger and cheaper (very likely) AND broadband/wireless gets much faster and cheaper and isn’t metered (looking unlikely at this point.)


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