Neil Young Launches New Music Player

PonoMusic, and the new PonoPlayer is a quality music service and music player that has been started by Neil Young. He launched the new device at SXSW, after raising a massive $340,000 on Kickstarter. The PonoPlayer costs $399 and contains 128GB of storage space. The Kickstarter project was back by some of the biggest names in the music industry including Arcade Fire, Beck, Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith, Beastie Boys’ Mike D., Jack White, My Morning Jacket, Dave Grohl, Ellis Costello, and the list goes on. The project on Kickstarter as a goal of $800,000 to be raised by April 15th.

To get yourself a new PonoPlayer, you can pledge $300, saving you $99 on the release price. $5000 will get you a VIP dinner and private listening party with Neil Young himself. This is capped at 30 people, however. Other prizes for pledges include Artist Signature Series PonoPlayers, featuring an engraving signature of the designated artists’ two favourite albums. A $400 pledge can get you an Artist Signature Series player signed by Neil Young, Arcade Fire, Beck, Patti Smith, Willie Nelson, Pearl Jam, the Foo Fighters and more.

Neil Young explains the experience of listening to a traditional MP3 player is like listening to music underwater. The PonoPlayer, apparently, gives users a more ‘visceral’ sound. Pono is not just a new audio format, but the Kickstarter project claims it to be, ‘…a grassroots movement to keep the heart of music beating. PonoMusic aims to preserve the feeling, spirit, and emotion that the artists put in their original studio recordings.’ Young, himself, refers to it as ‘an artist-driven movement’ to save sound.

The Pono device is triangular and connects to the PonoMusic App, which is currently available for Mac and/or Windows. the PonoMusic store allows users to buy and download music, very similarly to iTunes. The PonoPlayer has two output jacks, allowing for standard head phones, and another designed for audio systems and car stereos. Neil Young talked about the early days of Pono, described as Puretone, in his book Waging Heavy Peace. He said, ‘An MP3 has about five percent of the data that can be found in a PureTone master file.’ More recently, he described Pono, ‘Hearing Pono for the first time is like that first blast of daylight when you leave a movie theatre on a sun-filled day.’

We will have to wait and see how Neil Young’s Pono fairs against the giants of Apple and Sony.

Keep up-to-date with Pono news right hear at inSYNC or by following us on Twitter @insyncmag.



Tobi Stidolph

Press Manager & inSYNC Writer