“Pono is about the music,” Young said. “It’s about the people who make the music and the way it sounds to us when we’re in the studio making it. It’s about you hearing what we hear. And that hasn’t happened in a long time. I want to bring back real music. So that everyone who loves music can share in the release of Pono and the launch of the real music experience in the 21st century.”
The 68-year-old singer-songwriter, who lives in Woodside, has spent nearly three years developing PonoMusic – Pono is Hawaiian for righteous – with the goal of delivering listeners the best possible digital quality sound, which he says has long been unavailable to average listeners because commercial recordings typically leave out large amounts of data.
“PonoMusic is not a new audio file format or standard,” the company wrote on their Kickstarter page. “PonoMusic is an end-to-end ecosystem for music lovers to get access to and enjoy their favorite music exactly as the artist created it, at the recording resolution they chose in the studio. We offer PonoMusic customers the highest resolution digital music available. PonoMusic is more than just a high-resolution music store and player; it is a grassroots movement to keep the heart of music beating.
“PonoMusic aims to preserve the feeling, spirit, and emotion that the artists put in their original studio recordings.”
Young has funded his development efforts with $3 million, some of his own money as well as investments made by others, including some music industry figures, said Hamm, a successful Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur and investor who joined PonoMusic about a year ago. Among other things, Hamm previously was president and CEO of Accept Corp., and is currently a member of the Grammy Foundation.
Skeptics, including some audio engineers, have questioned whether Young’s technical approach will actually produce a difference in sound quality that listeners will be able to discern, but Flea, bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, has said the difference in quality is “drastic.”
The player will contain 128 gigabytes of memory, which can store between 1,000 and 2,000 high-resolution songs, depending on the resolution and length of the recording. The device will also accept memory cards, which can hold more music and playlists.