PonoMusic, an online music store and a playback device conceived by Neil Young, is finally coming to market. The music system, which focuses on high fidelity digital audio playback and claims to improve upon the sound MP3s offer, will first enter the market through a campaign on a crowdfunding platform Kickstarter where starting March 15 consumers can reserve a PonoPlayer.
The service also includes a PonoMusic desktop media management application allows customers to download, manage and sync their music to their PonoPlayer and other high-resolution digital music devices.
“It's about the music, real music,” said Young, founder and chairman of PonoMusic in a statement. “We want to move digital music into the 21st century and PonoMusic does exactly that. We couldn't be more excited about bringing PonoMusic to the market."
It's been over 18 months since news first broke of Young's Pono designs, which he wrote about in his book "Waging Heavy Peace," and where he claimed the new technology would help unite record companies to do no less than "save the sound of music." Young subsequently appeared on "Late Night With David Letterman" with a prototype of the device which he said "plays back anything, all the digital formats," and uses a digital-to-analog conversion technology to remove the need to remaster recordings and change the intent of the artist and producer.
The Pono player has 128GB of memory and can store 1000 to 2000 high-resolution digital-music albums and will coast $399 (MSRP) and will be available for pre-order at a discounted price on Kickstarter.com beginning on March 15. The audio technology in the PonoPlayer was developed in conjunction with the engineering team at Ayre, in Boulder Colorado.
"Our goal was to offer the highest quality digital music available from all the major labels with the world's greatest sounding, user-friendly portable music player,” said John Hamm, CEO of PonoMusic in a statement. “We've achieved our goal and we are excited to launch our Kickstarter campaign next week to invite music lovers everywhere to join the PonoMusic community and reserve a PonoPlayer for their own enjoyment.”
The PonoPlayer, according to the release, was “engineered in a "no-compromise" fashion to allow consumers to experience studio master-quality digital music at the highest audio fidelity possible, bringing the true emotion and detail of the music, the way the artist recorded it, to life.”
Neil Young is scheduled to give a keynote at SXSW tomorrow (March 11) at 5:00 p.m. as part of its Convergence programming, where Music, Film, and Interactive topics overlap.