Neil Young unveils high-definition music player, store

Mar 10, 2014
Neil Young arrives on the red carpet for the Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on January 26, 2014

Singer-songwriter Neil Young announced plans Monday to launch a high-definition portable music player and download service, saying it will improve the experience of listening to digital music on the go.

The Canadian-born musician, a longtime critic of the quality of digital music, said he would be launching an online store for as well as a portable player through his new company, PonoMusic.

"It's about the music, real music," Young said in a statement.

"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."

The PonoPlayer will be sold online for $399 on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter later this week, the statement said.

The PonoMusic website was not operating Monday. Young was scheduled to talk about the new service this week at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas.

"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, chief executive of PonoMusic.

The technology in the PonoPlayer was developed with the engineering team at Ayre Acoustics, in Boulder Colorado.

The statement did not include technical specifications.

Several companies have begun offering players and downloads of high resolution which restores much of the data lost when are compressed into MP3 format. Some experts contend, however, that average listener may not be able to distinguish between standard and high-definition music.

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