Published Oct 15, 2014Neil Young introduced us to his high-quality digital music platform Pono earlier this year, but following a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, we haven't heard much else about the Canadian songwriter's Tobleronic players. Now, it seems that the product is finally almost here.
Billboard points out that, according to a recent announcement from the company, PonoMusic's official U.S. launch will take place at San Francisco's Salesforce Dreamforce tomorrow (October 16), where Young will be giving a keynote speech.
Mass production of the players has apparently begun, and Kickstarter packages will begin to be shipped out in October. These Kickstarter-purchased PonoPlayers will come pre-loaded with one Neil Young track, "so you can experience Pono right out of the box."
As for the PonoMusic online store, it can be previewed at PonoMusic.force.com, and it shows albums from artists like Weezer, Prince, Ryan Adams, Spoon, Pearl Jam, Tom Petty, Beck, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Arcade Fire and Young himself. There are even short samples of each song. These aren't available to purchase quite yet, however, since that function is still "coming soon." Kickstarter backers will get early access to the purchase function (as soon as the players are shipped, starting this month).
By the time purchases are made public, Pono intends to offer the full catalogues of the three major labels (Warner, Sony and Universal), and a total of more than 2 million songs.
Bear in mind that this is all for the U.S. launch. The PonoMusic Store is expected to be coming to Canada and the United Kingdom in early 2015, with further expansion taking place throughout next year.
There will also be Pono accessories like earbuds, cases and more by the end of 2014.
Evidently there's a lot of anticipation for Pono. Its Kickstarter campaign aimed to raise $800,000, and it blew past this goal by netting $6,225,354 (to date, that's the 4th most successful campaign ever).
Young also recently told CNBC's Mad Money that Pono is working on partnership with automakers Lincoln and Tesla. You can watch that segment below.
In other Neil Young news, his Storytone is due out on November 4 through Reprise Records with a vinyl version to follow on December 16. There is no word when it will be available for Pono.
Also, his car-themed memoir Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life and Cars arrived yesterday (October 14) on Blue Rider Press.