Neil Young to Start Kickstarter-Funded Music Service, Player

Singer-songwriter Neil Young announced a Kickstarter-funded music service, PonoMusic, and player to deliver high-quality digital sounds.

The Kickstarter campaign will start on March 15 and contributors will be able to reserve a device, called the PonoPlayer, according to an e-mailed statement today.

The project grew out of Young’s dissatisfaction with the quality of digital recordings after the music industry shifted to the MP3 format. The musician, twice inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, said in January 2012 that he worked with Steve Jobs on a high-fidelity service before Apple Inc. shelved the project. Later that year Young raised $500,000 in venture capital to develop the Pono system from 12 investors.

“We want to move digital music into the 21st century,” Young, who is founder and chairman of Burbank, California-based PonoMusic, said in the statement.

Young, 68, co-founded Buffalo Springfield and played in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young before going solo. He developed PonoMusic with Ayre Acoustics Inc., based in Boulder, Colorado, to provide “studio master-quality” music, according to the statement.

The triangle-shaped PonoPlayer will cost $399 and can be ordered at a discount on Kickstarter, according to the statement. The device has enough memory to contain as many as 2,000 albums, according to the statement. Memory cards can be used to store more.

The online music store at will offer music from major labels as well as independents, and curated playlists, according to the statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at Ben Livesey

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