Pono Rumored to Secure Hi-Def Beatles Catalog, While Pono's Engineers Question Whether It Matters

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The Beatles celebrate the completion of their new album, 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band', at a press conference held at the west London home of their manager Brian Epstein on May 19, 1967.

It took about nine years for the Beatles to travel the long and winding road to Apple's iTunes store. It looks like Neil Young may not have to wait as long to get the Fab Four's coveted catalog added to his high-end Pono music store.

According to a report by Roger Friedman of Showbiz411, Paul McCartney is said to be very keen to get his old band's music ready for the just-launched Pono store, which uses the high-quality FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) format as its standard.

Friedman does not reveal his source, but later mentions chatting with about Pono -- and getting an earful about already getting to hear Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on the Toblerone-shaped device. "It's going to blow your mind," Will said of hearing the 1967 album.

The Pono Music Store launched last week with a library of 2 million-plus songs from the three major labels. "We want to start a community of music lovers worldwide so future generations will be able to hear today's classics in a way that's representative of what music really is, instead of having a museum of MP3 files," Young said at the CES convention in Las Vegas

But Young's adherence to high-quality audio files is being met with cynicism from some critics, who say the average listener won't hear a difference between CD-quality and the lossless format. Sources inside Pono itself have reportedly told the New York Post that even some of the company's product engineers are skeptical.

The report alleges that "PonoMusic has decided to hawk so-called 'hi-res' files as a marketing strategy" geared to "numbers-obsessed audiophiles." Citing an unnamed source at Pono, the selling of larger files is being called a "business strategy."

The source added: "It has been clear throughout that Neil Young himself is all about the hi-res. There's no doubt in his mind that it sounds better."