Neil Young: Pono won’t be a hardware company for long (video interview)

Neil Young’s high-definition audio startup Pono just started selling its Pono player, but the music legend told me during an interview at CES in Las Vegas Wednesday that he sees Pono getting out of the hardware business sooner rather than later. Asked whether Pono wants to continue to make its own hardware, Young said: “Not really. This is just so people can see what can be done. I would welcome the chance to have another company make this player.”

Young went on to say that he’d be happy to share Pono’s technology with other companies, and license the Pono brand. “It can say ‘certified Pono’ or it can say ‘branded Pono’. Those are the two things we offer, and neither of them are very expensive,” he explained.

Check out the full interview with Young:


Young said that he first thought about building the Pono when the MP3 format became popular around the turn of the century. He then started building a prototype four or five years ago. Young went on to announce Pono with an appearance on Letterman in 2012, but it took the company quite a while to actually get the product ready and out of the door.

In that process, Pono went through a number of CEOs, and is now officially headed by Young himself. Asked about that process, Young said: “It’s been difficult, we’ve made mistakes. But we are still here.”


Neil Young’s Pono player surpasses $800,000 Kickstarter goal on launch day

Well, that was fast. Neil Young’s Pono startup, which wants to build a high-resolution digital music player by the same name, shot past its $800,000 funding goal on day one of its Kickstarter campaign. Pono launched a Kickstarter campaign to finance the production of its player Tuesday morning, and at 10pm, it already had raised more than $925,000. This also means that the discounted $200 Pono players are all gone, but backers can still secure a player for $300, which is $100 less than what Pono wants to sell the device for this fall.

Neil Young’s Pono music player is looking to raise $800,000 from Kickstarter

The Kickstarter campaign for Pono, the high-resolution music startup founded by Neil Young, is live, with an ambitious goal: Pono wants to raise $800,000 within the next 34 days to fund the production of its portable music player. Early backers have a chance to pick up a Pono player for $200, as opposed to the $400 retail price it will be selling for this fall. Other rewards include posters signed by Neil Young and a private dinner with the rock star.  The campaign page also includes a few more technical details, including that Pono will play FLAC files with bit rates of up to 9216 kbps.

Neil Young’s deceiving Twitter tease

News that Neil Young is on Twitter led thousands of exultant fans to follow him. It’s too bad, then, that Young appears to have nothing to do with the account. The fake hype reflects badly on both the company and the musician.

Free Publishers Lunch e-book offers excerpts from hot fall titles

Book publishing industry newsletter and website Publishers Lunch is previewing hot fall titles — by authors like Junot Diaz, Dennis Lehane and Barbara Kingsolver — in a free e-book, “BEA Buzz Books,” ahead of major publishing fair BookExpo America in June in New York.

7 stories to read this weekend

Here we go — of all the stories I read this week, here are the ones that I think are worth reading. Much of it is about the tech industry, mostly because I ended up being too work-focused as I recovered from my New York trip.