Neil Young’s personal quest to revolutionise digital music is rapidly becoming the industry’s most hyped venture of 2014.
Back in March, more than 18,000 backers rushed to snap up early versions of Young’s PonoMusic player, which samples tracks straight from the studio at nearly five times the rate of CD recordings.
Young’s team needed $800,000 to get the project off the ground. They received $6.2 million in seven days.
Part of the fundraising success was the technology, part of it was Young’s ability to pull star power to the project.
Acts such as Metallica, Pearl Jam, Beastie Boys, Dave Grohl and Mumford & Sons supported the project with signature series players that come preloaded with their own favourite albums.
Pledges of more than $5000 received a 30-person VIP dinner and listening party with Young himself.
The Toblerone-shaped touchscreen player can hold about 5000 tracks at CD quality in its 128GB memory.
But at the top end – 192 kHz/24 bit – you can hear about 800 tracks exactly as they were laid down in the studio. The player will be serviced by its own online music store.
“Finally, quality enters the listening space so that we can all hear and feel what the artists created, the way they heard and felt it,” Young said.
In July, the project was shaken up when Young assumed the CEO reins from Jon Hamm, with little comment from the company about the reason why apart from a note that said Hamm wished Young all the best and would remain an investor.
Young has since built an all-star executive team, including The Doors’ LA Woman producer Bruce Botnick as head of content acquisition and former Apple exec Phil Baker as vice president of product development and operations.
Last week, PonoMusic was shifted over to Crowdfunder and those who backed it on Kickstarter were given the opportunity to become real investors in the project for as little as $5000.
As of yesterday, another $6 million in equity funding has swelled PonoMusic’s coffers. It’s clear fans of Young’s eclectic music career have no concerns about his ability to run a business.
From all reports, the PonoMusic player is still on track for a first shipment to early backers in October.
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