What is The PonoPlayer Doing for Music? Not Much.
J Thoendell stashed this in Music
Let's put aside the problem of a famous and wealthy artist like Neil Young using Kickstarter in the first place. We all know he could have gotten his $800,000 from private investors, or his personal checking account, and that this was likely just a publicity stunt.
The Pono website says, "PonoMusic takes all the music goodness of an artist's studio master recordings and liberates it right into your soul. Nothing is lost, but everything is gained." Actually, here's what was lost: $6.23 million. That money could've gone into the pockets of artists through existing distribution channels that already offer lossless and high quality audio for portable devices and stereos that support the formats that PONO so proudly champions. While Young promises a "revolution in music listening" that will fix years of declining audio quality, the Pono addresses none of the problems real music fans face.
The greatest trick the music industry ever pulled was making consumers think they need to buy the same classic rock records over and over again. Think about the number of opportunities we've had to repurchase, The Beatles' discography. There were the original records, The Beatles Collection vinyl box set, The Beatles Box Set on CD, then the remastered stereo and mono box sets on CD and vinyl, then on iTunes. Same goes for The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen — name a classic artist, and their albums have been repackaged and re-released again and again. Each time, the shiny new package comes with marketing campaign making you think the copies you already own have to be replaced by the new ones, which are better and cleaner sounding, bringing you closer and closer to the artist's original vision.
This is how 1% of artists make 77% of the income generated by the music industry today. If you think the Big Three major record labels (Sony, Universal, and Warner) are banking on finding a hot new indie band around the corner, then you're wrong. They're banking on reselling the back catalogue of their top earners over and over again, in new formats that consumers don't really need.