Pono, the answer to the music industry’s prayers?

Everyone knows that the advent of the mp3 sent the music industry into a frenzy trying to adapt to the digital word.  What with piracy, streaming, and iTunes taking over as the main sources to find, discover, and acquire music the industry is continually met with new opponents.  Many argue that the dominance of the mp3 and digital music has somewhat devalued music and created passive mentality when purchasing music.  After reading various articles and listening to various speakers talk to us about the future of the industry many seem to be waiting for a new product,service, or device that brings back a value in music that was taken away when the mp3 was introduced.  Que, PONO.

The mother of all formats


Singer-songwriter Neil Young announced that he will be initiating a Kickstarter-funded music service, PonoMusic, and player to deliver high-quality digital sounds. The Kickstarter campaign launched on March 15 and  in the span of about a week and a half as already surpassed its goal of 800,000 to about 4.5 million dollars coming from 13,522 pledgers. Here is a video of Neil Young attempting to explain what Pono is all about.

Most of the conversation with Letterman focused on the new quality that the product will be providing.  ˝The project grew out of Young’s dissatisfaction with the quality of digital recordings after the music industry shifted to the MP3 format˝ and wanting to ˝move digital music into the 21st century”.  The triangle-shaped PonoPlayer will cost $399 and can also be ordered with a discount through the projects Kickstarter, according to the site the player will have enough memory to contain as many as 2,000 albums with memory cards can be used to store more.  So what differentiates this PonoPayer from the likes of iPods?  Well Neil Young says its the quality.  Instead of focusing on a player that can hold all the music in the world this product will hold less but have more quality content.   The Pono mission is as follows;

Pono’s mission is to provide the best possible listening experience of your favorite music. We want to be very clear that PonoMusic is not a new audio file format or standard. 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.

So is this the answer to the music industries prayers?  Will it instill a greater sense of value for music due to the focus on quality in sound? Maybe Record Labels can adapt some of Young’s ideas and develop a product incorporates this quality sound into a device consisting of an artist album and additional material, just at thought?

To make your own opinion, check out some more information with testimonials in the video below.





Music as a Muse: “The Last Waltz”

last waltz

November 25, 1976.  Thanksgiving Day in San Francisco.  Rock group, The Band, is preparing to make their swan song.  Their farewell concert in the same venue in which they made their debut, The Winterland Ballroom.  Martin Scorsese was there recording the whole thing as an A list of musical stars take the stage to join The Band in their final performance as, well, The Band.

When I say the A list, I mean a truly all-star cast including (but not even closed to limited to) Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Ringo Starr, Van Morrison, Neil Diamond and Eric Clapton, just to name a handful accompanying The Band, horn section and choir.

The Band ft Bob Dylan – Forever Young

The film also shares some insightful interviews with the band members.  A tidbit from an interview with Robbie Robertson that I found notable was that they were are one of the few bands of the era that simply retired.  There was no tragic drug overdose killing the frontman–although drug use was rampant.  The producers had to edit out a glob of cocaine that was.hanging from Neil Young’s nose. (Freep.com)  There was no power struggle and Yoko incited breakup.  They didn’t milk their fame playing concerts at geriatric homes forty years past their prime.  They simply retired upon the realization that they had been on the road for 16 years and were ready to do something new, nothing more.  They went out with a bang, and that was what this concert was all about.

Over thirty years later, this film is widely recognized as one of the greatest music documentaries of all time.  However, Levon Helm, drummer and vocalist of The Band, expresses reservations about it in his biography, saying that Scorsese made Robertson the protagonist of the film and did not portray the synergy of the group. (Chicagotribune.com)

I shall conclude this series with an epic guitar battle between Robbie Robertson and Eric Clapton.  Enjoy.