Kickstarter Campaign for Neil Young’s PonoMusic System Starts Strongly


One of Neil Young’s not-so-whimsical mottoes has long been “Quality — whether you want it or not,” but it appears there’s a population of music fans that does want it, judging by the early response to the Kickstarter campaign supporting his new high-quality PonoMusic system.

The Kickstarter operation went live on March 11 at 10:30 a.m. Pacific time, and within the first hour it had logged almost 400 supporters for a total of more than $100,000. At the two-hour mark, more than 750 people had pledged more than $240,000.

Many of those pledges were earmarked for reserving a first-generation PonoPlayer, the answer to Apple’s iPod that will hold 1,000 to 2,000 high-resolution digital albums.

The early pledgers were able to reserve the player for $200, nearly half the $399 retail price cited in Monday’s announcement of PonoMusic, which comprises an online music store containing recordings from all three major music groups, and the PonoPlayer itself.

Neil Young

The Kickstarter goal is $800,000, which must be reached by April 15 or the campaign will not be funded.

“You no longer have to choose between quality and convenience when listening to music,” the Kickstarter home page states, “you can have both.”

In addition to the basic PonoPlayer, which comes in yellow and black models, there are several artist signature versions, priced at $400, being produced in chrome, with laser-etched autographs of Young or other high-profile musicians who are Pono supporters including Willie Nelson, Patti Smith, Tom Petty, Pearl Jam, Beck, Crosby Stills & Nash, Dave Matthews Band, Arcade Fire, Foo Fighters, Herbie Hancock, Norah Jones and Lenny Kravitz.

Additionally, at the $5,000 level, Young is offering 30 Pono supporters a VIP listening party and dinner that he will attend.

The store will offer albums and individual tracks in high-resolution FLAC files; they are estimated to sell for $14.99 to $24.99 per album. Pricing on track downloads has not been established.

Young chose “Pono” as the word for the system because it is the Hawaiian word for “righteous.”

Los Angeles Times


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