50K MUSIC MAG

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PonoMusic Revolution: Neil Young Kickstarter Campaign over $6 Million and Counting

Only 22 hours to get your Pono ... Published April 14 2014.

  by Sabrina

In the 21st century interconnectivity of media devices allows us to enjoy everything from professional quality digital photos of cute kittens to high definition video instantaneously on our smartphones, tablets, and computers. While visual media has increased in overall quality, the music industry still relies on the compressed mp3 format, which essentially is like choosing VHS over Blue Ray. Here to rival the dismal industry standard is PonoMusic, which allows music fans to listen to high quality digital music like the musicians originally intended. Founder and music legend Neil Young hopes that his Kickstarter campaign (over $6 million pledged) will help revolutionize and revitalize the music industry and bring back what he calls the “soul of music”.

Neil Young chose the name “Pono,” meaning “righteous” in Hawaiian, to symbolize what he thinks this will mean for the music industry. PonoMusic is both a subscription service and a device, giving musicians and music fans alike the ability to enjoy high quality music anywhere. The proponents of PonoMusic are quite impressive, from positive testimonials from giants like Tom Petty to Pearl Jam to Norah Jones. On the Kickstarter website teen Beta Testers share their personal sound experience with this unique digital format that clarifies every subtle nuance.

PonoMusic may be more than a nifty gadget for audiophiles and musicians to add to their technology collection. PonoMusic has the potential to infuse life into the limping music industry behemoth that has seen a steep financial decline since the beginning of the Digital Age. Between piracy, falling album sales, and a bust worldwide economy, as well as the rise of the self-publishing indie musician, the traditional music industry finds itself as relevant as the library - something to be saved for cultural reasons but increasingly unnecessarily redundant unless something drastic changes.

PonoMusic may very well be the Messiah of the Music Industry by providing a clear-cut difference between the impeccable quality of a professional studio mix and the rougher indie track completed in Garageband. Pirates might find that music fans are willing to pay for subscriptions to get higher quality tracks (as is evidenced by the incredible Kickstarter response) and that “ripping off” an mp3 might not cut it anymore. Additionally, the subscription service already shows that PonoMusic and its industry backers are thinking of the long game, where fans pay a set monthly fee to enjoy their music. Current services like Spotify and Pandora have truly insulted musicians both legendary and emerging with their scant and embarrassing pay rates. Hopefully, PonoMusic will provide both quality to the audiophile while supporting the artists that work hard to bring good music to their fans.

With millions of dollars pledged to the PonoMusic Project and a heavy A-list of professional musicians behind him, Neil Young may have hit a veritable pot of gold. The first batch of PonoPlayers are set to go out this fall to Kickstarter backers, with preorders available at PonoMusic.com for those that haven’t jumped on the bandwagon. In the First World where media entertainment is king, Young is the music industry’s knight in shining digital audio.