Neil Young's PonoMusic Officially Launches, Begins Selling Special Edition Players from Arcade Fire, Pearl Jam, Beck

Neil Young's PonoMusic Officially Launches, Begins Selling Special Edition Players from Arcade Fire, Pearl Jam, Beck
Neil Young recently announced that he would be launching his much-discussed digital music service Pono with a Kickstarter campaign. Now, that campaign has officially launched and the PonoPlayers are available to buy.

The Kickstarter page explains that PonoMusic is an online store and portable player, and it offers high-resolution music that "aims to preserve the feeling, spirit, and emotion that the artists put in their original studio recordings." It notes that Pono mixes the convenience of digital music with the quality of studio sound.

The video accompanying the Kickstarter campaign includes testimonials from a host of music industry icons, who all rave about the high quality of the sound. Contributors include (in chronological order) David Crosby, Gillian Welch, Norah Jones, Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), Stephen Stills, Rick Rubin, Tom Petty, Sting, Jack White, Arcade Fire, Red Hot Chili Peppers, James Taylor, Foo Fighters, Elvis Costello, Mike D (Beastie Boys), Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews, Sarah McLachlan, My Morning Jacket, Jack Johnson, Patti Smith, Reggie Watts, Mumford & Sons, Beck, and many more. Young also gives a lengthy testimonial of his own.

Those who donate to the campaign can get a variety of rewards. Signed posters from Young cost $100, while early bird PonoPlayers start at $200. Sadly, these are already gone, so it will now cost you $300 for a player.

For $400, you can get something called an Artist Signature Series, which comes laser engraved with an artist's signature and comes pre-loaded with that artist's two favourite albums. It comes in a leather case. Artists who have their own Signature Series model are Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Tom Petty, Patti Smith, Pearl Jam, Beck, Dave Matthews Band, Foo Fighters, Herbie Hancock, Norah Jones, Lenny Kravitz and Arcade Fire.

For a whopping $5,000, you'll get an invite to a private dinner and listening party with Young himself.

The Kickstarter page has lots of details about PonoMusic and the accompanying players. It comes with 128GB of memory, which is big enough for around 100 to 500 high-res digital albums. It uses FLAC formatted files.