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Neil Young Is Selling a $400 High-Quality iPod Alternative

Yahoo Tech

Musician Neil Young’s long-awaited PonoPlayer music devices will be launching on crowdfunding site Kickstarter this week, and the supporting digital music site PonoMusic for high-quality track downloads will also be going live.

The logic behind PonoMusic is simple: If there is a market for HD video, be it as a file download or as a Blu-ray disc, why isn’t there an equivalent for music? Although CDs offer high quality, even they often lack more than 50 percent of the audio detail captured in the master recordings. And as for MPD3s, they sacrifice quality for portability and compressed file sizes.

“It’s about the music, real music. We want to move digital music into the 21st century, and PonoMusic does that. We couldn’t be more excited — not for ourselves, but for those that are moved by what music means in their lives,” said Neil Young, founder and chairman of PonoMusic.

Young has been working on the project for a number of years and even revealed that at one point Apple’s Steve Jobs had been a collaborator who shared the same passion when it came to music.

PonoMusic, like the iTunes Store, is an online music store and a music player (the PonoPlayer) that can be used to listen to tracks on the go or can be connected to a home or car stereo system. Its contents will be managed by a piece of desktop software for adding tracks and creating playlists.

“Our goal was to offer the highest quality digital music available from all the major labels and build the world’s best sounding, easy-to-use portable music player,” said John Hamm, CEO of PonoMusic.

From Wednesday, March 12, when the page goes live, music fans will be able to log onto Kickstarter to preorder a PonoPlayer and in doing so will receive a discount on the $399 retail price. The player comes with 128 GB of storage on board. Because of the size of the music files it will be able to handle, this equates to between 100 and 500 high-resolution digital albums.

What’s more, the PonoPlayer will be able to accept memory cards so owners could conceivably build playlists on different cards and swap them in and out of the player to suit their moods.

(Reporting by AFP)