Neil Young Launches Archives App, Subscription Service: 'This Is a Life's Work'

Neil Young
Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns

Neil Young performs live on stage with members of Crazy Horse in Copenhagen, Denmark on March 16, 1976.

Neil Young has given completists and hardcore fans a gift this holiday season with the launch of a new subscription service and app for his vast, years-in-the-making Neil Young Archives (NYA). Created in partnership with Warner Bros. Records, the NYA website launched in beta a year ago and includes meticulously organized audio and visual content spanning Young's entire musical life.   

The NYA subscription service will cost $1.99 per month or $19.99 for a full year and includes unlimited access to Young's always-growing ("This is a life’s work," he says. "It will never be finished") archives, including hi-resolution streams of all available recordings, plus a timeline filled materials related to his music, movies, videos, books, photographs, manuscripts and press notes.   

The paid subscription, accessible via his website and an iOS app (Android soon), includes other perks like first dibs on concert tickets, livestreams of other live shows, early access to new and unreleased music, and full access to Young's personal news outlet, the NYA Times Contrarian.

The NYA streams its music using Xstream by NYA, developed by Young with OraStream technology. It’s capable of streaming at the original quality of master recordings, higher than other streaming services.

"If you want to hear my music and would like to have the option to listen to it with all the depth and glory of high resolution, it will be there," Young says. "All my new records can be heard there first, before they get released anywhere else. New, unreleased albums from the archives and old, unreleased albums from the archives will always be heard there first. Our machine is a monster."

A free version of the subscription lets users peruse the timeline and includes access to a featured album and song of the day, both using Xstream by NYA.

Both tiers offer access to Young's hi-res music download store (dust off that Pono).

For many fans, a centerpiece of the site will be The Timeline, which currently starts at 1959 and gamely catalogs every notable moment of Young's career, side-by-side with historical context. "There are files and files for years and years, all full of music," says Young. “Albums and tracks, bits and pieces, manuscripts and art, film and video. I live there."

Young adds, "Each song is being backed up with the archival material that relates to it and to the creation of it, from song writing to band jams, the history of this music is there. It’s never finished – it is huge and growing. We work night and day expanding the window you can see this archival stuff through."