World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Pono (digital music service)

Article Id: WHEBN0037177719
Reproduction Date:

Title: Pono (digital music service)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: PonoMusic, Clowdy, Hoopla (digital media service), Murfie, Kickstarter
Collection: 2014 Introductions, Digital Audio, Neil Young, Online Music Stores
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Pono (digital music service)

Pono Music
Pricing model $14.99–$24.99 (expected, per album)
Platforms Mac OS X, MS Windows, Web Browser
Format FLAC (lossless)
Restrictions Unrestricted
Catalogue "Major labels and prominent independent labels"
Streaming No
Availability October 2014 (2014-10)
Features Sync to PonoPlayer device
Website .com.ponomusicwww

Pono is a portable digital media player and music download service for high-quality audio.[1][2] developed by musician Neil Young and his company PonoMusic,[3] which raised money for development and initial production through a crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter.[4] Production and shipments to backers started in October 2014, with shipments to the general public expected to begin in Q1 2015.

Pono's stated aims—to present songs "as they first sound during studio recording sessions", using "high-resolution" 24-bit 192kHz audio instead of "the compressed audio inferiority that MP3s offer"[5][6]—have received mixed reaction, with some commentators describing Pono as a possible competitor to similarly-aimed music services such as HDtracks,[7] but others doubting its potential for success.[1][8][9][10]

The name derives from pono, a Hawaiian word for "righteousness".[11]


  • History 1
  • Ecosystem 2
  • Reception 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5


Pono Player form first release of Kickstarter Back Up
Writing in his book Waging Heavy Peace, Young expressed concern about digital audio quality, criticizing in particular the quality offered by Apple's iTunes Store.[12] "My goal is to try and rescue the art form that I've been practicing for the past 50 years," he said.[13]

In 2012, Young founded Pono Music, with Silicon Valley entrepreneur John Hamm as the company's CEO.[14] In September that year, Young appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman with a prototype of the player,[15][16] and reported backing from major record labels Warner, Sony, and Universal, with a full agreement with Warner.[11][17][18][19]

In March 2014, Young announced that Pono would provide "the finest quality, highest-resolution digital music from both major labels and prominent independent labels" using the FLAC audio file format.[20] $6.2M of funding for the project was raised via preorders for the player using the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.[21] In June 2014, Young assumed the title of CEO of Pono Music after founding CEO John Hamm stepped down.[22]


The Pono "ecosystem" will reportedly comprise the following components:

  • A portable music player, "PonoPlayer", costing $399 with 64 GB of internal storage. The player comes with an additional removable 64 GB MicroSD card and larger MicroSD cards can be used. Currently 128GB MicroSD cards are available and can be used. Thus, the total capacity can be 64GB, with no MicroSD card inserted, or more depending on the size and the MicroSD card. The cards can be swapped to allow for a larger selection of data.[20] The press release notes that the PonoPlayer, developed in collaboration with Ayre Acoustics, can store "100 to 500 high-resolution digital-music albums".[23]
  • The PonoMusic online music store, which will also sell earbud and headphone products suitable for use with the PonoPlayer device.[23]
  • "PonoMusic App", accompanying desktop-based "media-management" software, which will allow customers to download and sync music to the player.[23]


A 2012 Rolling Stone report on Pono relayed generally positive anticipation, but quoted rock star Jim James as asking, "I've already bought Aretha Franklin's 'Respect' a lot of times. Do I have to buy it again?"[5]

Press reaction to Pono announcements in March 2014 was generally skeptical: approving of the idea of good sound, but questioning the viability of a standalone player in a market that had moved largely to smartphones and that was moving increasingly towards music streaming.[8][9][10][24] Several commentators suggested that the key to improved sound lay largely in music engineering and mastering practices, rather than in file formats and players.[25][26][27]

See also


  1. ^ a b Arthur, Charles. "Pono: only a man pays for music quality that he can't hear". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 8 April 2014. Pono is the latest in a long line of attempts to give people "high-quality" recorded audio 
  2. ^ Montgomery, Monty. "24/192 Music Downloads ...and why they make no sense". Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  3. ^ Kamps, Garrett. "'"Neil Young Pitches Pono Music Service at SXSW as Alternative to Digital 'Shit. Spin. SpinMedia. Retrieved 14 March 2014. expect to receive their brand new, music-industry-saving Pono device in…October, at which point one presumes Pono will do a launch event 
  4. ^ "Pono Music - Where Your Soul Rediscovers Music". Kickstarter. Retrieved 2014-12-05. 
  5. ^ a b Flanary, Patrick (27 September 2012). "Neil Young Expands Pono Digital-to-Analog Music Service". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-10-05. 
  6. ^ Van, Eliot (2013-09-03). "Neil Young: Pono To Launch in Early 2014". Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  7. ^ O'Malley Greenburg, Zack. "How Neil Young's Pono Music Raised $2 Million in Two Days". Forbes ( LLC). Retrieved 15 March 2014. He’ll have some competition. Already, services like have seen triple-digit growth in downloads of top-notch digital files 
  8. ^ a b Shankland, Stephen. "Sound bite: Despite Pono's promise, experts pan HD audio". c|net. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 25 March 2014. experts say there's little point going beyond CD quality 
  9. ^ a b Wolverton, Troy. "Wolverton: Pono may sound great, but don't expect it to stick around". San Jose Mercury News. San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 25 March 2014. Apple, Amazon, Google and others would quickly start selling higher-resolution songs and albums themselves, a move that would almost certainly doom Pono 
  10. ^ a b Aguilar, Mario. "Why Neil Young's New Pono Music Player Doesn't Make Any Sense". Gizmodo. Gawker Media. Retrieved 25 March 2014. His Pono player is based on a good understanding of the problems with digital music—but its prescription for a solution only half-way makes sense 
  11. ^ a b "Neil Young shows off his studio-quality Pono music player".  
  12. ^ Michaels, Sean (28 September 2012). "Neil Young to take on Apple's iTunes Music Store".  
  13. ^ Calore, Michael (2 February 2012). "Why Neil Young hates MP3s -- and what you can do about it". Wired. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  14. ^ "The Company". Retrieved 2014-03-12. 
  15. ^ Trew, James. "Neil Young's Pono music service wants to democratize high-quality audio".  
  16. ^ Newman, Jared (1 October 2012). "Pono: Can High-Quality Audio Sell Neil Young’s Portable Music Player?". Techland ( 
  17. ^ Poltrack, Adam (3 October 2012). "Neil Young and Pono pushing new top-quality digital music". Home Theater.  
  18. ^ Coplan, Chris (28 September 2012). "Neil Young expands Pono digital music service".  
  19. ^ Geere, Duncan. "Neil Young's 'Pono' is a music service and player for audiophiles".  
  20. ^ a b
  21. ^ By Kory Grow (2014-04-15). "Neil Young's Pono Kickstarter Raises Over 6 Million | Music News". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2014-04-30. 
  22. ^ "Neil Young becomes PonoMusic CEO after the Kickstarter gold rush". 
  23. ^ a b c Minsker, Evan. "Neil Young Launching PonoMusic Via Kickstarter". Pitchfork. Retrieved 9 March 2014. 
  24. ^ Brustein, Joshua. "Music Snobs, Neil Young Has a Product for You". BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK. BLOOMBERG L.P. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  25. ^ Van Buskirk, Eliot (11 October 2012). "Neil Young's Pono Format Might Benefit Interactive Audio Apps More Than Music Playback". HypeBot. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  26. ^ Montgomery, Monty (4 October 2012). "Guest Opinion: Why 24/192 Music Downloads Make No Sense". Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  27. ^ Van Buskirk, Eliot. "Will Neil Young’s ‘Pono’ Player Really Make Music Sound Better?". The Echo Nest. Retrieved 14 March 2014. Quoting Montgomery: "the long-running audiophile demand for 24/192, and their pushback against any scientific testing that shows it’s useless" 
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.