It’s a current digital music concept coming from a seasoned, veteran musician. Neil Young announces his plans to unveil a high-end online music store and portable device to go along with it.
PonoMusic is the brainchild of Young, with the engineering particulars taken care of by Ayre Acoustics in Boulder, Colorado. Described as a “desktop media management application,” it works much like any other music service: fans can download and manage music on computers, then sync it onto the PonoPlayer, which is supposed to be a higher resolution playable device. In fact, the main goal of the project seems to be its capacity for protecting the music in its most digitally advanced form. The news release on the product hails the PonoPlayer’s high-definition ability and says it will “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.” It goes on to say that the albums and tracks will come from a variety of different labels, some well-known, others bordering on the independent and more obscure. In short, it’s not a brand new technological concept, but it’s a chance for die hard music lovers to hearken back to the days of better audio fidelity, the chance for them to pay a little extra for a service and device that aim to protect the integrity of the original sound. It’s depending on the support of the segment of listeners that have felt a little jilted by the ever growing school of thought that’s willing to sacrifice quality for easy accessibility.
The triangular-prism-shaped device doesn’t look all that different from the group of MP3 players, IPods and other portable music players that are out on the market right now, although it boasts an easy-to-use, modern LCD touchscreen. The first release of the player includes 128 GB of storage and can hold 1,000-2,000 high-resolution albums. PonoMusic was quick to include that it will be marketing memory cards for the player, so that listeners can keep as many different playlists and collections of music on hand as they want to. The company will also sell accompanying products like earbuds and headphones on its website.
Maybe the most interesting part of Young’s announcement is the way that the device and the service will be marketed. PonoMusic is using a Kickstarter campaign to sell the high-def product, and giving customers the chance to pre-order the PonoPlayer, which is being sold right now for $399 MSRP, starting March 15.