Neil Young’s PonoMusic Kickstarter Campaign Raises $5.75 Million

Honoree Neil Young attends the 56th GRAMMY Awards P&E Wing Event Honoring Neil Young at The Village Recording Studios on January 21, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.
Michael Kovac, WireImage

Honoree Neil Young attends the 56th GRAMMY Awards P&E Wing Event at The Village Recording Studios on Jan. 21, 2014 in Los Angeles.

With five days left in their Kickstarter funding initiative, Neil Young and the PonoMusic team are now the third most funded campaign in Kickstarter history at $5.75 million as of today. 

PonoMusic CEO John Hamm is thrilled about hitting the milestone. "This campaign has exceeded our expectations from the start. By taking the nontraditional crowdfunding approach, we have been able to unveil PonoMusic our way -- directly to our customers. The PonoMusic Kickstarter campaign now has over 16,000 active backers and we've received over 5,000 comments, questions and suggestions on the site. This is incredibly valuable consumer feedback and we will be a much better company at launch because of the engagement from the PonoMusic community.”

Less than 10 hours after launching their Kickstarter campaign on March 11, the team surpassed their $800,000 goal; at the 24-hour mark, they hit $2 million. Since then, Young and the PonoMusic team have been heavily involved with their Kickstarter audience, fielding questions, comments and concerns in order to share the full experience with their supporters. The team has also engaged their audience by explaining the feeling behind the PonoMusic experience via constantly updated imagery; video testimonials from both renowned artists and young people in Los Angeles; and weekly updates from Hamm and Young.

"Pono is an ecosystem to play and store music. This is not a format; the experience is not about recognizing a song, it's about feeling it," says Young, who came up with the idea over three years ago to “bring the soul back into music.”

Kickstarter campaign backers are being offered PonoPlayers as rewards in yellow and black. A roster of top musicians also took part in the campaign by authorizing a limited edition "Artist Signature Series" with their autographs etched onto the players. Artists who participated include Elton John, the Eagles, Kings of Leon, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Pearl Jam, Tom Petty and Crosby Stills & Nash, amongv others. Other rewards range from stickers and T-shirts to exclusive PonoMusic listening parties around the country hosted by Young.

Now in its last week, a final reward has been added at the backers' request: the PonoClear, a PonoPlayer with transparent casing to fully view its inner details, pre-loaded with a PonoMusic sampler specially curated by the company’s founding team.

The Pebble E-Paper Watch raised $10,266,845 on May 18, 2012, to become the largest funded project in Kickstarter history. The Oua, a new kind of video game console, raised $8.6 million on August 9, 2012, while the Veronica Mars movie raised $5.7 million in April, 2013.

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