Neil Young unveils new music media ‘ecosystem,’ PonoMusic

“In a show appropriately resembling an Apple product rollout, Neil Young took the stage at SXSW Tuesday to present his new music media ‘eco-system,’ PonoMusic,” Carlton Wilkinson reports for TheStreet. “”Pono’ means the one, the whole,’ Young said. ‘It’s a Hawaiian word.'”

MacDailyNews Note: Pono’s Kickstarter page states, “‘Pono’ is Hawaiian for righteous.” Hawaiian words can have more than one meaning, so…

“The iTunes-like product for distribution of ultra-high-quality digital audio files includes an online store of downloadable files from major and independent labels, a software library that lives on the customer’s device and a triangular piece of hardware about the size of a mobile phone that can fit in a pocket and can hold hundreds of albums of high-quality audio,” Wilkinson reports. “Young prowled and growled his way around the stage solo for about half an hour, flanked by a SXSW backdrop and images on two giant screens. He explained his complaints against CD and mp3 formats, his fixation with creating a better technology that can represent music to the public with all the detail the artists intend, and the launch of his Kickstarter campaign after failing to generate interest from traditional investment channels.”

“Young aims to create an experience for the the next generation of musicians and listeners that will be even better than the high-quality vinyl analog recordings of his youth, he said. ‘I don’t want to bring anything back,’ he said. ‘I want to take it forward,'” Wilkinson reports. “Major and independent labels can sell their music through PonoMusic at whatever resolution they prefer. Young himself is making all of his music available at the highest resolution possible (192 kHz/24 bit) but he acknowledges that many artists won’t have access to that format or won’t choose to use it… Pono’s Kickstarter campaign has gained significant ground in its early stages. While it still had fewer than 4,000 backers Wednesday morning, it has already well exceeded its goal of $800,000, at a pledged amount of $1.28 million.”

MacDailyNews Note: $1,788,378 currently.

Certain language in the following video may not be suitable in certain venues. NSFW:

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Niche.

But, if it helps to elevate quality audio reproduction across the board, it’s worth the effort.

UPDATE, March 16, 2014, 13:01pm EDT: PonoMusic sounds like a boondoggle.

Please read:
Neil Young’s 24 bit/192kHz ‘PonoMusic’ project is a very silly boondoggle – Sunday, March 16, 2014


      1. Not to forget “For What It’s Worth” with Neil’s signature harmonics punctuation and paranoiac riffs. Or “Expecting to Fly,” arguably on a par with “A Day in the Life.”

  1. I saved all my CDS and encoded them in Apple iTunes Plus format. Sounds pretty good to me in the car, over the air on my iOS devices and ATV connected to my 7.3 (3 subs) surround system. 😊

    1. You might have 3 subs (for some inexplainable reason), but that doesn’t make it 7.3. That makes it 7.1 with 3 subs and a bunch of room modes (reinforcements and cancellations). Unless you’ve got a large and nicely-treated room (big bass traps and very stiff wals), you’d do better with a single sub properly tuned. There is no such thing as a 7.3 release format.

      1. The .X refers to the sub channel which is mono. A 7.2 receiver is playing 7.1 with the mono sub-channel going out to two ports. While having 3 subs is most likely a mistake in a car, referring to it as a 7.3 system makes sense (or at least as much sense as calling a system 7.2).

  2. 192 kHz/24 bit <–BRAVO!

    Young has been taking up Pono for over two years. I'm glad he's finally getting somewhere with it.

    And yes folks, you can HEAR the superior sound quality over conventional CD (44KHz sampling rate) audio quality. If you think you can't, please get your hearing tested. Also check out the curves representing the results of under-sampling high frequency sound. It's not pretty. Why have we put up with CD quality audio for decades? Hmm? Granny can record better audio quality with her iPad.

  3. What difference will it make? I mean, when he sings, Neil Young sounds like a cat in heat, and all his guitar solos are one note repeated ad infinitum. You mean the Pono player will make him sound better? Give me a break.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.