Being a Neil Young fan, and music lover in general, I was naturally quite interested in the news that the Pono was finally going to be released sometime in 2014… maybe.
Neil Young has been touting the device for a few years, most notably on the Late Show with David Letterman show in 2012, but it hasn’t seemed to have gotten much further than a pipe dream.
However, this may be changing as Young has recently raised over US$2 million (B64 million) in just two days since launching his Kickstarter campaign.
Quite impressive, but what exactly is the Pono?
So far, we know that it is a music player that aims to provide a much higher quality listening experience, using the FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) standard. Young, being an MP3 critic, argues that the Pono will offer a quality listening experience that he hasn’t heard “since vinyl”.
There are still a few key questions that need answering though, such as whether the Pono will feature DRM music that would be locked to the Pono player. Also, which studios and artists will be featured in the store?
Cnet’s Steve Guttenburg has already questioned the viability of the store, considering that many studios simply don’t record at the quality levels required for Pono.
Still, if Young can raise enough support from the artists creating the music, he may have a good shot at circumventing this problem, by getting them to put pressure on the studios.
Albums are expected to cost between US$15 (500) and $25 (B800), with the player expected to retail at around US$400 (B12,000). Pretty pricey, if you ask me – but maybe worth it?
It’s great to see a legend such as Neil Young support a better music experience (which I am always open to) but I have to question the placing of this product.
With such a hefty price tag, and smartphones being the now de facto music players of choice, I have to wonder at the mainstream traction that this would gain.
That, and the Pono player is terribly shaped. An elongated triangle in my pocket? No thanks Neil, you’re dreamin’ man.