Die-Hard Pono Fan Can’t Take It Anymore, Starts PonoSucks.com…


He backed the Pono Kickstarter campaign. Now, he’s backing a website to warn others.

Even Neil Young doesn’t release his own music on Pono, at least not before Tidal.  So why should die-hard fans care anymore?  Enter ponosucks.com, created by one of Pono’s biggest believers.  Keep in mind, this is a guy that actually contributed money to the Pono Kickstarter campaign, which ultimately raised millions and an inordinate amount of hype.

He cried tears of joy when he started using one of the first Pono players every created.  Now, he’s crying for a different reason.  Here’s his opening salvo on the site:

“Allow me to preface this site with an opening statement, If you will:

This is a site created by one former fan of the PONO Music Player.  An Original Kick Starter backer’s site.  It is intended as a personal review, AN OPINION and some ranting.  All in the hope that you are able to decide whether or not to part with your money and buy into this.  

This is NOT an Anti “Shakey” (AKA Neil Young) site.

To say I am a fan of the man, his muse, talents and creations, as an artist and performer would be an understatement……..

I have admired, listened to, enjoyed, legally purchased AND re-purchased  all of his music & wares (including two PONO players and, perhaps the GREATEST BOXED SET of ALL TIME, Archives, Volume 1)  Numerous times. I own all of his released, recorded works in various formats. I have seen him perform in all his varied permutations, in many different settings and venues over fifty times and, for the most part, thoroughly enjoyed the musical ‘ride’.”

The anonymous die-hard has indeed suffered greatly.  After getting his limited edition player from his Kickstarter backing, he then purchased an additional Pono player to complement his limited edition gem.  He then purchased hundreds of dollars worth of downloads from the Pono Store, while enduring a massive executive shake-up and slide towards oblivion.

That store has now become the bane of his existence, and the subject of another rant, here.

Pono Sucks T-shirt

The lingering question is why Neil Young got it so wrong, and more importantly, why so many followed him into digital failure.  Downloads are now in a tailspin, further pushing Pono into a marginalized position.  But right out of the gate, the music industry was shocked to see a triangular, awkward download player and high-priced online store with limited selection.  This was a move backwards!

Upon release in August of 2014, critics started piling on.  Steven Finch, CEO of digital distributor RouteNote, called Pono the worst player he’d ever seen.  Consumers, despite massive awareness, didn’t vote with their wallets, and sales of the player never suffered miserably.  Just one year later, after millions in investment and push, the triangular anomaly struggled to sell more than tens of thousands of units.

Meanwhile, clues about Young’s grasp on technology and digital music started to emerge.  In March of this year, Young claimed that the songs from his latest album were so long, they wouldn’t even fit onto iTunes.  In July of last year, Young declared streaming to be over, while refusing to release his music on streaming platforms (and previously releasing his music on cassettes).

Since that point, streaming music platforms has experienced their biggest surge in history, edging downloads ever-closer to the digital dustbin.  Indeed, niche download players are increasingly feeling the heat, with the possible exception of genre-focused, hi-fidelity sites (think classical).  Unsurprisingly, Apple itself is feeling the heat, with iTunes Store song downloads crashing at a precipitous volume.  That is leading to rumors of a complete shutdown of the iTunes music download store and a massive shift towards Apple Music, which is entirely focused on streaming.

Apple has denied those rumors.



17 Responses

  1. Vision 2020

    This is all sour grapes. Person was banished from the Pono community for repeated innappropriate jokes and remarks about others. Pono warned the person for months.

    Person is selling the doctored shirt on ebay to get attention and inflict pain on Pono. Fine. Freedom of speech. Person is still listening to to the two LE Ponos and all the hi res files that were purchased. Only the shirt is for sale. Actually it is not. Doubt the reserve will ever be met.

    Pono is a great company and product. Visit the Pono community and read posts from happy owners. Or go to Amazon and read the reviews. Pono gets a solid 4 stars on Amazon US and 4.5 on Amazon Canada.

    The Pono sounds better than any player close in price. Every other player makes numerous compromises in sound quality for features. Streaming sucks for sound quality. Bluetooth is even worse. Some people are happy with AM radio. Fine.

    Streaming may be the future. Some will always want their own music collection. Everyone laughed at vinyl years ago. How is that working out? Give Pono a listen, you will be amazed.

    • Don Ho

      for 20/20 vision you sure seem blind as a bat. thin skinned newbies and spineless mods led to expulsion. frequent, fragrant and anonymous flaggots. humorless peeps on forum. Sour Grapes? yep. don’t change a thing.
      Forum ain’t what it used to be. A Novel idea who’s time has come and gone. for PONO to flourish AND succeed in a market dominated by music streaming services, It’s biz model has to change. do any of the other High Resolution Music Download sites have a forum? OR are they in the business of selling music downloads? do you reside in a country that has been lied to? did you pay for a product and service that YOU are able to use to your satisfaction? well, good for you. plenty others have not.
      And don’t think for one second you couldn’t be expelled, permanently, for a product and service YOU PAID FOR. WTF? Sour Grapes? you bet yer A$$!

        • Don Ho

          well hey now Mr. or Ms. “anonymous”, I can Neither confirm nor deny your accusation. I can, however, confirm with 100% certainty, you have drunk the Pono Koolaid and are either a thin skinned frequent, Flagrant flaggot or spineless moderator from the forem. either which way, I refuse to have a battle of wits w/ an unarmed person.

    • Sproesser

      Yes, I love my player, and the lossless files I’ve purchased are full of details not heard on a cd, mp3, or stream. It’s for people who want music to sound as good as it can, which is a small crowd. It’s fantastic for us!

  2. PonoFan

    Herb is a humongous jackass and can only be happy when he’s creating drama. He can’t leave well enough alone. He begged for the longest time to have Pono kick him off of the message boards instead of just leaving on his own, then after he got kicked off, he came back on under another name, and continued to be a huge jackass. For which he was once again removed. Now he’s back (again) and spamming the community with his ponosucks website link. Herb, go find something else to do.

    • Don Ho

      No Drama. Just Truth. I understand. After being fed Bullshit all these months you don’t know what truth tastes like. “Herb” maybe a humongous Jack Ass? You would prob. know a Humongous Jack Ass since I’m certain there is ALWAYS one in your mirror.
      (surprised you were able to get past the Captcha math)
      being a PONO fan….

      • Elwood

        Hi Don, if you are so fed up with Pono, why don’t you give away your players. I am sure there are many people out there who would love to have a PonoPlayer.

        • Don Ho

          Hi Elwood. Do you figure yer prob is with reading or comprehension, mainly? I ask b/c you seem to not understand a few things.:
          I have No problem with the device, just the deviousness. Of the Forum members, moderators and Leadership. The Business Model is severely flawed. And One more thing: I ain’t a charity, so I ain’t givin’ nothin’ away. nice try tho.

  3. Snappy UpStart

    Who gives a rat ass about Pono (odd name) … no one cares or is interested in this two bit pretend outfit…

    (oops.. that sounds a bit harsh… my tongue is in my cheek…)

    But never the less, Pono ain’t a big deal..

  4. [email protected]

    Werd. What Ratso said.


  5. ExPonoCultMember

    I have a Pono player and was also once an active member of the Pono Community Forum. The user who started the pono sucks website was once a most favored poster, contributing many humorous posts, articles, and tips. Then the Yellow Meanie (censors) Moderators stepped in. Posts were flagged and users warned. One particular female user with a nose ring, multi color skanky looking hair, and love like orientations spinning off the bell curve became offended about any and all Hillary jokes. Soon after, any and all left of liberal leaning positions and topics deemed politically incorrect were banned, flagged, citations and warnings were issued. Free speech and open floor discussions were effectively shut down. The lights dimmed, people left, conversations dwindled, and now the store has gone dark.

  6. Lars

    The whole Pono thing is a scam, well maybe the player is ok but the Store is a joke. Too expensive and for us in Europe we are still left out after two years…

    I actually regret i bought the Pono Player and today I unfortunately have a much different view on Neil Young…


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