Rumors that Neil Young was hard at work on a high-quality music player have been floating around for years now, but today at the SXSW festival the rock-and-roll legend officially launched his new product, Pono Music, on Kickstarter. Named after the word for “righteous” in Hawaiian, Pono consists of two parts: a $399 triangle-shaped music player and an online store where high-quality digital music can be purchased for around $20 per album.
Over on Kickstarter, music lovers can back Pono for as little as $5 for an online shoutout or $100 for a signed Neil Young poster. An early bird special offering the PonoPlayer for $200 is already sold out, but you can still reserve a black or yellow device for $300. The device comes with 64GB of onboard storage but supports another 64GB with a microSD card. It’s designed to play high quality music, but also works with regular MP3s, which Pono claims will “probably sound better on the PonoPlayer than you’ve ever heard it.” The jury is still out on that claim.
Overall, Neil Young is hoping to raise $800,000 in funding, though he appears to have backing from much of the music industry. Check out a promotional video (below) that features everyone from Tom Petty to Rick Rubin and Mumford and Sons. We still have a few questions before we jump onboard with Pono, but overall we’re excited to see the dream of a super high-quality portable music player finally coming to fruition.