Early on, back in the 'dotcom bomb' days, (remember the site dotcombombs.com?) 24k and 32k mP3 files were commonly available to stream or to download because of their smaller size and lower/limited bandwidth capacities. I worked for an internet radio station between 99 and 2001 and we stored 24k, 32k, 56k, and 128k versions of each song on our servers in order to give the users the choice depending on their connection speed and storage capacities etc. . While Neil's argument used to bear weight, in today's world the reality is explicit: yes the smaller sized mP3's sound terrible and are missing a lot of the aural spectrum that we are used to hearing, but nobody even bothers with those 24k, 321k, 56k mP3 files these days.... EVERYONE KNOWS that the quality of those smaller files sucks and for good reason they've been pretty near obsolete for over a decade. ( good luck finding a 24k version of anything these days.)...Neil is making an argument that may have been valid 15 years ago, but now is no longer even a consideration
Here is a great test that you can do at home..... A B test: Create a playlist containing 2 tracks of the same song, one is the 256k mP3 track and one is the WAV or FLAC track...be sure to randomize the track order but keep the tracks paired together. Then you choose which one the WAV OR FLAC track is. Do this 16 times and if your answer around 50% right, you cant tell which is which. I got 7 right out of 16 for 44%......SO I cant tell the difference, and I have pro speakers, pro headphones, etc......I'm a professional musician.
Besides performing music that hasn't been relevent for over 40 years, writing an album of love songs to a car, and turning his back on his country in order to make a buck, Neil Young is once again just proving to the world how out of touch he is.