As a recording artist, I have always been interested in taking what I have just done home with me when I leave the studio. It was easy with MP3s, but that didn't last long because it was so depressing to realize that's what you, the listeners would get. It was not what I just created. So I was very happy when I finished a night laying down solo versions of "The Monsanto Years" songs last week. I put the top down and took them with me and playing them loud in my old car, blasting away in super high resolution 192/24 sound in the back canyons between Malibu and Oxnard flying by.
I pulled over and stopped a few times and just listened to the sound bouncing off the canyons and mountains, something you never get with earphones. What a great feeling, to hear the songs direct from the studio, back so fresh and fast in all their ragged glory, complete with lyric errors and the odd guitar mishap. Making records is a joy again because of Pono, and I know that my listeners have a choice of quality now. I am looking forward to playing these songs with the band and hearing the sound we make as I travel home tonight.
Artists can share their Pono studio experiences here at firstname.lastname@example.org
PONO ONLY GETS BETTER
We are constantly adding more music tracks
to the Pono Catalog.
total tracks are ingested now.
PONOMUSIC LAUNCHES EQUITY CROWDFUNDING
For as little as $5,000, accredited investors can purchase shares in PonoMusic and become an owner of the company.
August 14, 2014
PonoMusic's revolution is stirring unprecedented interest in the music community's high resolution digital music market, as the startup's successful Kickstarter campaign recently raised $6.2M from over 18,000 backers the third largest Kickstarter campaign ever far surpassing even the campaign initiated by Oculus Rift.
Now Neil Young and PonoMusic are continuing their crowdfunding momentum by launching an equity crowdfunding campaign exclusively on Crowdfunder.com at PonoMusic on Crowdfunder. Accredited investors can invest as little as $5,000 and become an equity owner in PonoMusic alongside Neil.
Neil and the team at PonoMusic are excited about democratizing the investment process of PonoMusic by giving their Kickstarter backers, and anyone who loves music, the opportunity to now invest and become an owner in Pono.
Click here for the full press release.
NEIL YOUNG: WAGING HEAVY INNOVATION
By Henry Doss, Forbes, January 14, 2013
"I am succeeding because people are talking about how they would do it better."
- Neil Young, Waging Heavy Peace
Innovation is not for the faint of heart, nor for those who lack the capacity for joy. Leading an innovation culture means living inside of chaos, while maintaining a focus on cardinal points; operating within demanding goals and financial requirements while remaining open to diverse and contradictory points of view; sometimes "losing your way to find your way." Above all else, though, authentic leadership is about experiencing and celebrating the joy of innovation. And if you are looking for a good role model -- someone who best exemplifies all the traits of innovation leadership -- you need look no further than Neil Young.
There are countless books, monographs, studies, articles and blogs addressing the issues of leadership and innovation, and more coming every day. But Neil Young's recently released autobiography, Waging Heavy Peace, may serve as the best innovation case study out there. For those who study the "how" of innovation, and in particular the often mysterious challenge of leading innovation, Young's life story captures it all in one compelling read.
Throughout his long and storied career, Neil Young has been a virtual factory of songs, musical innovation, ideas, inventions and a near-constant stream of new product. Lest we miss the obvious, his life and work would fit the most stringent definition of a successful business: consistent revenue generation; consistent innovative product releases; nurturing of intellectual and human capital; a strong, well-maintained brand. And at the core of this lifetime of business success are two critical innovation principles consistently applied, day in and day out, in real time, in the real world.
First, and foremost, is Young's steady, constant leadership of his own innovation ecosystem. As with any authentic leader, his concern is not about himself, or what he creates, but with how his actions inspire, challenge and cause others to create. "I am succeeding because people are talking about how they would do it better." This quotation from Young's book captures the essence of innovation leadership better than any other business, professional or academic study of leadership. Simply stated, we cause innovation when we are more concerned about how others are "doing it better," than we are with ourselves. This is the confounding irony of leadership - that innovation requires both strong individual leadership and a powerful commitment to selflessness. Individual leaders are more successful -- and more innovative -- to the degree their focus is on the success of others before their own.
Second is the "virtual innovation ecosystem" that Young built around his music and restless inventing. Throughout his long (and future!) career, he instinctively nurtured the key elements of innovative ecosystems. His is a world of learning by doing, of enhancing and celebrating diversity and building an environment of trust. The components of innovative systems -- diversity, trust, iterative experimentation, rapid failure, and so on- are well-known and well-studied. These constitute the "whats" of innovation. Innovation leaders like Neil Young provide the "how" of innovation, the steady hand that supports diverse, inquisitive and adventurous communities through the messiness and chaos of innovation.
What Neil Young gives us in Waging Heavy Peace is a compelling story about leading innovative people, and nurturing the various components of innovative systems into the proper mix. Any organization would do well to study this narrative and learn from it. Selfless leadership, driven by a near-obsessive desire to create, will almost always lead to good things. And one of those things will be joy. Keep on rockin' in the free world.
(Henry Doss is a venture capitalist, student, musician and volunteer in higher education. His firm, T2VC, builds startups and the ecosystems that grow them. His university, UNC Charlotte, is a leading research institution with a small college feel. His band, Amygdala Hijack, makes sounds.)
I'm Imogen Heap. And This Is Why I'm Releasing My Music on Blockchain
Digital Music News, October 5, 2015
I've been in the music industry for 20 years.
Officially I got signed when I was 17, and I've seen it change quite a lot over the years. To the point where I'm now out of a record label, out of management, out of a publishing company, and for the first time in my life I'm actually free, completely. So I'm in a way in the place where a new artist might be if they were about to release a song, except I've got twenty years of experience, and twenty years of people who know who I am (or not).
So now I just thought, imagine if I was a new artist, what would I do? Where would I go? How would I think about making money as a new artist, without all the back catalog and the people and the contacts that I know? And I just thought, it's really, really, really hard. It's really hard to know where to go, who to ask, when you hear all these conflicting stories about the terrible state of the music industry, and all this stuff, and that people are ripping you off, and it just kind of ensues fear into something you so love.
Read more here.
PONO YEAR BEGINNING
December 31, 2014
Happy 2015. As 2014 comes to an end, Pono is on the threshold of success. I would like to thank everyone, our supporters, Kickstarter and new, our financial backers dedicated and few, and our Ponopeople. I am very proud of our small Pono team and what we have accomplished. The dedication and skill they have shown in getting us to where we now are is awesome. We have almost 20,000 Pono players in users hands and thousands of new orders to fulfill in the first months of 2015. We have an online music store emerging from beta and a desktop app ready to begin serving our first generation of PonoMusic lovers.
This effort has been at the hands of the people. From our amazing beginning at Kickstarter, Pono has been supported and lifted up by music lovers worldwide, with orders from dozens of countries. Our music lovers want their music to sound great and they are saying Pono delivers the best sound they have ever heard.
We are young. Make no mistake about that. We are small. We know we have a big job ahead. We have heard the naysayers but none of them have heard us. We deliver what we promise. Our listeners testify online, day in and day out, about the amazing Pono experience, the genuine Pono smile. That is because we know what we want to do and we are doing it; delivering music to music lovers as it was intended to be heard, getting the best available from the record companies while constantly pushing them to give us more; more quality and quantity.
We are asking the artists to step up and deliver what they have made. Give it to the people the way it was intended. Give us your masters. The time is here. The people want the best it can be. Pono is the mother of all formats. Pono can play it all from the lowly MP3 to the highest resolution masters created in the studio. We are not tied to any one way of playing back the music. We play it exactly as the artist created it, with no compromise to fit a format or proprietary box developed by a corporation to grab a share of the revenue, and all music lovers can feel the difference Pono makes.
If you are an artist, Pono your music now. We are the place to be, the place where you can be sure your creation will be heard correctly and perfectly, as you recorded it, with all of its magic intact. Get us your masters and let us bring them to the world of PonoMusic. Your creations are safe here, respected for what they are and preserved for history in the highest possible quality. Talk to your record company and Pono your masters. Let the people hear you. Be Pono!
Pono people come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life.
The biggest joys for me are the genuine Pono smiles; the looks that come across new listener's faces as they hear more than they have ever heard from their favorite songs, songs they have enjoyed hundreds of times before and are now discovering anew. Music is magic. It is the universal language. Pono is here.
When someone tells Pono that no one needs to have better sounding music, we listen to them. We feel for them. There is nothing more that they need and they are not burdened by curiosity. But we are. We are here to stretch the limits, unleash the sounds of great recordings to be experienced by our Pono music lovers. That is why we search the world for the best files and make them available through PonoMusic World, our online store of great sounding music. PonoMusic World, with more than 2,000,000 songs and growing every day, is constantly adding tracks, upgrading songs to higher resolutions with more depth and quality so you can "feel" the music as the artist intended it to be felt.
Our portable player is part of the secret, but it is no secret. It is just pure quality sound. We deliver. We invite other companies to make our player and add their features, but with sound only to our specs, so it can be Pono. You can trust Pono. If it says Pono, it is.
We envision new Pono players and speakers, headphones and buds, we see giant Pono home player systems with terabytes of memory, connected to full robust Pono speaker systems by many manufacturers. We want to help the artists reconnect with their art and audience in a music revolution that presents not just the sound, but delivers the magic of greatness in music, just as it was meant to be. Pono.
With all that said, we at Pono know it isn't going to be easy. It is a monumental and historic change. We will struggle alongside the record companies to bring the music industry back to its original quality, while preserving the convenience that has now become standard fare at the expense of our artist's beloved sound.
Our Pono users even say we are better than vinyl. We do not say that. They do. That's Pono.
Get on board with Pono. Come with the artists on Pono's happy journey to the rebirth of music. Enjoy what we are doing. Raise your experience. Feed your soul. Pono lives.
Happy New Year to us all!
Make it Pono!
THE STORY BEHIND PONO QUALITY
December 7, 2014
Many folks have noticed that the majority of music available at PONO is in 44.1 16 quality. The reason for that is the record companies have given us that as their best. PONOPLAYERS can play back any resolution, so we are always looking for the highest quality available. That means reaching out to artists and record companies to raise the bar. This is a life's work, but thanks to PONO technology, any quality level, from 44.1 16 (CD) to 192 24 (blu ray), and all levels between, can be played back on the PONOPLAYER.
We are always trying to get the best for you. There is no reason to settle now. PONOPLAYER can play it back.
Other companies may have compression schemes to make music more convenient, but that is not who we are. We don't believe in altering the original art, created by the artist for your enjoyment. We believe in giving ALL the music to you, just as it was made, or, in the case of original analog masters, as close as digital technology can come to it by copying it at the highest resolution. We can do that while no one else can, because PONOPLAYER can play it all.
ALOHA PONO MUSIC LOVERS
November 16, 2014
As feedback started rolling in when you received your players, I was so moved to hear how you were able to feel the music again - this is exactly why I have been driven to share PONOmusic with you, to bring you the PONO smile.
USER FEEDBACK: "Queued up Country Girl from Déjà vu. In a word, AMAZING I am hearing parts long since diluted by MP3. I can clearly pick up David Crosby's harmonies in the background, along with Stills and Nash. I'm ecstatic. I am Wowed. Need to hear more."
I want to thank you or your support throughout our launch. For me it has been the realization of a dream I have had for decades, to bring music back so you can feel it in all of its depth and emotion. We now have thousands of players in users hands. You have made it happen.
A small company like ours will experience growing pains, and they hurt. I want you to know that when things do not go smoothly for you I personally feel your pain.
USER FEEDBACK: "In my car I connected the Pono to the audio system using the line out. Sounds fantastic. I don't want to leave the car -- wish I had a nice long commute! Can't wait to show this off to friends."
Although thousands of PONO players have been received and more are now shipping, some of you are still waiting.
Frustratingly, a lot of our first supporters will not necessarily be the first to get their PONO players. Our first players had some flaws and I would not let them go to you that way. We had to pull and rework them. Your PONO players will be sent to you as soon as they are perfect. We want all of your players to be PONO.
Things are moving smoothly now for our manufacturing.
USER FEEDBACK: "OK Just rec'd the player late yesterday and just now had my first chance to listen to a long time favorite song of mine with the high quality ripping. The song; School by Supertramp off the Crime of the Century album. All I can say is that the sound blew me away and brought tears to my eyes! My new little baby & I are going to have some VERY good times together I predict!!"
PONO had some missteps early on that are now causing problems with shipping. We did not request addresses and phone numbers in the strict manner our shipper demands. This was our mistake, a young company without experience, but we are learning fast and are dedicated to satisfying you. Our shipper will not ship without phone numbers. If you have not received your PONO yet and live outside the USA, please email us your addresses and phone numbers so we can ship to you or contact you. This missing information is the cause of your delay in most cases. I am very sorry we did not get that right.
USER FEEDBACK: "Shpongle nearly put me in an epileptic fit it's so good. If you're not familiar with this breakthrough album, it's a headphone acid trip, mixing world music, binaural beats, electronica, and random audio samples. It's so much more powerful coming from Pono than any iPlayer I've ever listened to it on. Close your eyes and enjoy the ride."
There is one problem we cannot solve for you: some of you have purchased players and live in countries outside the USA. Each country has its own taxes, some exorbitantly high and some countries have very involved import processes you must go through. There is nothing we can do about this situation. We hope that when you do get your PONO, your musical experience will make it all worth it for you. That is our goal.
USER FEEDBACK: "I had to take a long drive yesterday and I hooked my Pono up in my car for the first time. It's a 2 year old Subaru with their basic sound system. It has never sounded very good to me. I thought about replacing it but I work at home and don't drive that much anymore. I could not believe how great it sounds with the Pono! I expected the Pono to sound great with headphones but I have been blown away by the sound through my very old stereo at home and this crappy system in the car. I highly recommend hooking it up to something other than headphones if you can."
Some of you have reported challenges ordering and buying music at ponomusic.com. If you watch the handy PONO videos we have provided, they may solve your issues. Refresh your pages to make sure you get the instructional videos you desire to see.
USER FEEDBACK: "I was BLOWN AWAY. I could hear little breaths from Joni Mitchell, sounds and features of songs I've heard a million times before, and that Pono smile was ear to ear. I was KNOCKED OUT. I need to let someone on the Pono team know about my Mom's reaction. The first track she heard on Pono was Into the Mystic by Van Morrison, and she burst into tears. She was overwhelmed, moved, stunned, thrilled, blown away, beside herself. What a moment. I'll never forget it."
Some big news - PONO headphones are coming, and that will be a big deal. They are not like any other earphones you may have tried or may now own. Your PONO phones will sound the best by far with a revolutionary feature never available in a consumer product. We are excited. Deluxe PONO players and PONO earphone/buds will be available early next year.
USER FEEDBACK: "I can't get beyond this point yet. Plugged a dozen hi-res albums into the Pono, and haven't even gotten to upload my CD rips yet, cause I keep listening to these albums, now several times! Jesus, tonight, again, Every Picture Tells a Story followed by Paranoid. They just sound so astounding! Like I used to do, I play the complete album, amazing sound! Placed the headphones on the wife, who was skeptical, claiming she doesn't like music that much....then she found Moody Blues on the Pono, and actually dropped her iPad games, closed her eyes, and floated into it..."
Enjoy your music.
We are rolling. We are a small, growing company. There will be bumps on the road and we will work diligently to fix them, so keep telling us your issues, we care.
... and please keep sending us your feedback - it feeds us.
PONO HEADS FOR LAUNCH
October 7, 2014
Now that we are heading into October and the long-anticipated PonoMusic launch at the Dreamforce conference, we wanted to update you on our upcoming plans for PonoPlayer production, shipments, and the PonoMusic Store.
We are also happy to inform you of some additional privileges of being a Pono Kickstarter supporter.
PonoPlayer Production and Shipments
The Pono team has been hard at work with our audio designers at Ayre Acoustics, and our manufacturing partner PCH, to ensure our players live up to the Pono audio and quality standards.
We have built and tested scores of test units, conducted extensive user testing, and optimized the PonoPlayer. We've not only developed a portable device that delivers unrivaled sound quality, but we've also made sure that it survives the kinds of wear and tear a portable product can experience. We've incorporated numerous enhancements along the way and are thrilled with the outcome. We also back our players with one of the best support plans in the industry to make sure each and every one of you is fully satisfied with your Pono products.
We are excited to announce that we have officially begun PonoPlayer mass production. Over the coming weeks we will be scaling production and expect to have all Kickstarter commitments manufactured within the next couple of months.
We plan to ship the October Kickstarter PonoPlayer rewards beginning the last week of October and expect to complete them by mid-November. Each of you will be notified via email when your player is shipped. Generally, the earlier Kickstarter pledges and Signature Series players will get priority for shipment.
We have some more good news for those who pledged for PonoPlayers with an expected delivery of December 31. At this point, we anticipate shipping all these rewards in time for Christmas!
Another piece of good news is that every PonoPlayer will include one free Neil Young high definition track so you can experience Pono right out of the box. Make sure you have your favorite headphones or earbuds handy.
We will be officially launching PonoMusic in the US at the Salesforce Dreamforce conference in San Francisco in just over a week. Neil Young will be doing a special keynote on October 16th in the Salesforce Community Cloud's Campground at the Cloud Expos. There will be headphone listening lounges as well as two group-listening sound booths that provide a home audio listening experience. If you're planning on attending the conference, please stop by and pay us a visit.
We will be shutting down the PonoMusic.com site for two days (October 6 and 7) in order to launch the new PonoMusic Store in time for Dreamforce. The new site will have a new user experience, incorporating music search, artist and album community discussions, and more. The PonoPlayer Preorder Store will also be there; however, music purchases and the PonoMusic desktop app will not be publicly available until we've successfully completed our beta testing of the music purchase ecosystem. In the meantime, we expect the complete catalogs of the big three labels (Warner, Sony, and Universal) to be fully ingested and available on the PonoMusic Store. We anticipate that we will have over 2 million tracks when we make music purchases publicly available.
One of the privileges of being a Pono Kickstarter backer is early access to music purchases well in advance of the general public. The day that your PonoPlayer reward is shipped to you, we will turn on your music purchase access, giving you a few days to prepare for the arrival of your player. Keep in mind that our catalog of music will still be growing during this period. If you don't find the music you're searching for, we ask you to be patient while we complete our catalog ingestion process.
Lastly, we are still planning on launching the PonoMusic Store in Canada and United Kingdom in the first quarter of 2015. We anticipate expanding the store internationally throughout 2015.
We anticipate launching the Pono Accessories Store by the end of this year, offering a number of accessories designed specifically for the PonoPlayer. These will include Pono earbuds, Pono cases and Pono cables for use with your home audio system, balanced audio cables for use with your high-end headphones and balanced home audio systems, etc.
Yet another privilege of being a Kickstarter backer is that the Pono team stands by our free-upgrade promise to backers who pledged for a PonoPlayer reward. You will be eligible indefinitely for a free audio upgrade at the PonoMusic Store.
This means any PonoMusic purchases by Kickstarter player backers will be upgraded for free should a higher resolution version of that music become available at any time in the future. We hope you enjoy being a part of the exclusive group with this privilege.
An additional cornerstone of the PonoPromise is that the music you purchase on the PonoMusic Store is guaranteed to be the highest resolution available anywhere.
Announcements about the availability of upgraded albums will be made on the PonoWorld Times section of our store and in the Pono Community.
Summary of Kickstarter Bonus Privileges
We here at Pono continue to look for ways to reward our Kickstarter backers for helping us jumpstart the Pono movement. The three bonuses announced above are:
That's all the news we have for you today. We are looking forward to a successful launch of Pono. Thanks for your support.
- Free music resolution upgrades forever!
- Early access to the PonoMusic Store
- One free Neil Young track included with each player
Thanks for listening.
WHY HIGH-RESOLUTION MUSIC MATTERS
CES Interview of Neil Young by Nathan Brackett, January 7, 2015
Watch video here.
PONO PLAYER HANDS-ON: BELIEVE THE HYPE
by Chris Burns, slashgear.com, January 6, 2014
It's a true testament to the high-quality audio delivery of the Pono Player that we're able to suggest that it's all that it's cut out to be at a tech convention.
Read more here.
HANDS-ON WITH NEIL YOUNG'S PONO MUSIC PLAYER
By Verge Video, January 6, 2015
Watch video here.
FINALLY WE GOT TO HEAR WHAT NEIL YOUNG'S PONO MUSIC PLAYER SOUNDS LIKE
by James Trew, engadget.com, January 6, 2014
Herbie Hancock just tickled my ears. Not kidding. Adele did too. But Herbie tickled them better. No, this isn't some weird dream/nightmare. This is Pono.
Read more here.
October 3, 2014
To learn about Pono's Break-In Time, Click Here.
PONOMUSIC KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN A SUCCESS
April 16, 2014
Dear Music lovers,
Pono's mission is to provide the best possible listening experience of your favorite digital music.
We thank the community for their love and confidence in making us the 3rd most funded project in Kickstarter history.
For more information and PonoMusic pre-orders (coming soon!), go to www.ponomusic.com.
Thanks for listening.
The Folks at PonoMusic
You can see the completed Kickstarter Campaign here.
NEIL YOUNG'S MUSIC RESCUE MISSION
By Ina Fried, AllThingsD, January 31, 2012
Neil Young is on a quest to improve upon the MP3 file that dominates digital music.
Young isn't opposed to the fact music is going digital, but he says the sound of today's files isn't good enough, with audio quality at just 5 percent of traditional recordings.
"My goal is to try to rescue the art form that I've been practicing for the past 50 years," Young said, speaking at the D: Dive Into Media conference on Tuesday.
Isn't this a losing battle? Walt Mossberg pressed Young.
"No," Young insisted, saying that what is needed is just a better music-playing device -- a better iPod, if you will. Who is going to produce this? Mossberg asked.
"Some rich guy," Young said.
Young said that Internet-based sound files are the way music is discovered these days.
"I look at the Internet as the new radio," Young said. "I look at radio as gone ... Piracy is the new radio, that's how music gets around."
Where Music Lives
Stay connected with Pono progress as the company launches the first music players and the Pono music ecosystem.
Get the latest at ponomusic.com
NEIL YOUNG INTERVIEWED
November 30, 2012
Click Here To Listen to The Podcast at WMMR Radio.
NEIL YOUNG DISCUSSES NEW PONO SYSTEM ON LETTERMAN SHOW
September 28, 2012
Click here to watch.
Learn about Pono at PonoMusic.com.
A MESSAGE FROM NEIL YOUNG
May 17, 2011
2012 will be the year that record companies release High Resolution Audio. This is huge for our industry. Since the advent of the CD, listeners have been deprived of the full experience of listening. With the introduction of MP3s via online music services, listeners were further deprived.
The spirituality and soul of music is truly found when the sound engulfs you and that is just what 2012 will bring. It is a physical thing, a relief that you feel when you finally hear music the way artists and producers did when they created it in the studio. The sound engulfs you and your senses open up allowing you to truly feel the deep emotion in the music of some of our finest artists. From Frank Sinatra to the Black Keys, the feeling is there. This is what recording companies were born to give you and in 2012 they will deliver.
-- Neil Young
A few players are now in use experimentally. The following is a musician's account of hearing PONO:
As a choral singer with the San Diego Master Chorale, I have had the opportunity to perform with the San Diego Symphony several times each year - an ultimate surround sound experience. As I sing my part or listen during orchestral interludes I am able to hear the purity of tone of each individual instrument, as well as the overtones of the orchestra that give such richness to the sound. In addition, we frequently perform in acoustically alive venues such as Saint Paul's Episcopal Cathedral, where the precision of such works as the Bach B Minor Mass and his Christmas Oratorio are enriched with the reverberation of the acoustics of the cathedral.
I have never experienced this quality of sound in a home setting - not even close. However, last night, using the Pono player and Audeze headphones, I listened to Roberta Flack singing Killing Me Softly and was amazed by the purity and fullness of the sound. Her voice was rich and sonorous and at the same time the instrumental background allowed the overtones to come through, along with just enough reverberation.
San Diego Master Chorale