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Steve Jobs gestures during Apple's launch of iTunes and a new iPod in San Francisco in 2003. (AP)
Steve Jobs gestures during Apple's launch of iTunes and a new iPod in San Francisco in 2003. (AP)

Music

Steve Jobs listened to vinyl, Neil Young says Add to ...

Hey, hey, my, my – what’s next, you’re going to tell us that Bill Gates hates cardigans?

Neil Young shocked the D:Dive Into Media conference in Dana Point, Calif., on Tuesday with the news that Steve Jobs didn’t listen to digital music around the house. The iconic musician and sound-fidelity fanatic told interviewers that the late Podfather was a pioneer of digital music whose legacy was tremendous, “but when he went home, he listened to vinyl.”

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It’s long been rumoured that Jobs’s stereo system was a $100,000 piece of work. A photograph in 1982 showed the notorious minimalist and perfectionist at home, with no furniture save for a turntable, a stereo and a floor lamp.

“I was single," Jobs said of those days. “All you needed was a cup of tea, a light and your stereo, you know, and that’s what I had.”

Young, who spoke forcefully backstage on the subject of MP3 files at last year’s Juno Awards in Toronto, is on a mission to make digital music more listenable.

“My goal is to try and rescue the art form that I’ve been practising for the past 50 years,” said Young, who believes ear buds are not for him. “We live in the digital age, and, unfortunately, it’s degrading our music, not improving it.”

Jobs, of course, did employ a fully loaded iPod. Rolling Stone writer Steven Levy once did the stroll down Jobs’s scroll and found plenty of Dylan, Beatles and Rolling Stones, along with Aretha, B.B. King, Buddy Holly, Don McLean, Donovan, Joni Mitchell, Joen Baez, the Doors, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, Simon and Garfunkel, and even The Monkees.

Have you noticed any omissions? That’s right: no Harvest, no Tonight’s The Night, no Live Rust – no Neil Young.

Nevertheless, Young believed Jobs would have helped him on his current sonic crusade to develop new hardware capable of playing audio files that preserve more of the data present in original recordings. “You’ve got to believe that if he’d lived long enough, he would have done what I’m trying to do.”

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