Neil Young’s Pono Kickstarter Approaching $5.5 Million…

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Neil Young’s Pono Music Kickstarter campaign went live on March 11th.  By March 18th the campaign had already raised over $4 million.

As of 4:33 PM PST April 3rd, 2014 Pono had raised roughly $5.4 million.

The campaign is going to wrap up on April 15th.

The huge amount indicates that high-quality audio on-the-go isn’t just for a niche audience.  It’s doubtful that Kickstarter is only being funded by “a lot of people who have extra cash they can piss away,” as one commenter suggested.  However, it’s hard to imagine anyone under the age of 26 purchasing a Pono Player.

It would be interesting to see stats on the campaign’s Kickstarter backers.


When Nina Ulloa isn’t writing for DMN she’s usually reviewing music or at a show. Follow her on Twitter.

12 Responses

  1. Dr. X

    Hey Nina, how about an article about RIAA 2013 #?

    You can find it here:


    Streaming Revenue: $1.0328 billion USD (up 59%)
    Singles Download Revenue: $1.623.6 billion USD (up 6.7%)
    Album Download Revenue: $1.205 billion USD
    CD (physical): $2.4856 billion USD


    Streaming Revenue: $1.439 billion USD (up 39.3%)
    Singles Download Revenue: $1.569 billion USD (down 3.4%)
    Album Download Revenue: $1.234 billion USD (up 2.4%)
    CD (physical): $2.1235 (down 14.6%)

    Streaming revenue 2011: $650 mil
    Streaming Revenue 2012: $1.0328 billion USD (up 59%)
    Streaming Revenue 2013: $1.439 billion USD (up 39.3%)

    If Streaming revenue grows 28% in 2014, it will be the biggest of the 4 components in 2014.

    • TuneHunter

      Hey Dr. X You must be Dr. Ek personal assistant.
      I agree with streaming as a delivery method, there is no other way.

      Money has to come from music discovery and from music ID services properly interlocked with streamers.

      Ads and subscriptions are known since 1927 most Europeans pay them to this date. Folks in Switzerland, Norway or UK are like premium subscribers for last 50 years. That income was always just cream on pie.

      All inclusive streaming has eaten the pie (MUSIC AS A MERCHANDISE)

      Going back to RIAA 2013, or better yet, their global equivalent IFPI: 15 billion in revenues for 2013 means 9% decline from 16.5 billion they have reported for 2012. Someway they see it as 3.9% but I would not expect them to do proper math if they can not see their own opportunities.

      Conclusion to you pro-streaming screaming: there is not enough money in ALL INCLUSIVE streaming, streaming with all whistles on board kills music as a merchandise and kills terrestrial Radio.

      The only hope is in discovery moment monetization converting all streamers, all Radio stations (both internet and terrestrial) and few million web sites into the music merchants. 100 billion dollar industry by 2020.

      • TuneHunter

        Also we are both not on subject.
        Regarding Pono – it’s just hopeless iPod for old folks or nerds!

      • Dr. X

        Look at Japan where streaming is none existent and anti-pirate law is VERY STRONG.

        Japanese record industry reports 15% decline for 2013

        Physical: $2.6 billion USD (down from $3.05 billion)
        Digital: $403.4 million USD (down from $531.3 million)

        Now look at market where streaming is strong like Sweden, Norway. Streaming is helping the music market there rebounds.

        Soundexchange (mostly Pandora) is paying about $590 million in royalties in 2013 (up from $462 million in 2012). Pandora has about 9% market share in radio.

        If Internet radio like Pandora grows 4 times bigger to 36% market share, Soundexchange distributtion would be $590 x 4 = $2.36 billion a year.

        Let’s hope internet radio become 4 times bigger.

        • TuneHunter

          Still small numbers. Theoretically you convert all Radio to web Radio at current Pandora rate you will be at 6 billion. It will also finish 17 billion dollar US Radio industry.

          Add to it, on the optimistic side, 300 million subs @ $4 – this will give you additional 15 billion.

          Last source of income: YouTube style advertising swarm around free music can deliver at the best 5 billion.

          Grand total 26B industry in about 10 years! If we are lucky. 1999 is worth today 56 billion.

  2. Dr. X

    The music labels LOVE LOVE LOVE when Internet Radio increases market share over terrestrial radio.

    The reason is simple:

    Internet radio (USA): $590 mil royalties payment in 2013 (up 28% from 2012)
    Terrestrial radio (USA): $0 in royalties payment in 2013

    Pandora reports that it has 9% market share in overall radio in March 2014. Imagine the revenue to the music labels if Pandora has 18% market share, 27% market share, 36% market share

    9% market share in radio = $590 million royalties
    18% = $1180 million royalties
    27% = $1770 mililion royalties
    36% market share in radio = $2360 million royalties

    As more people have smartphones and as the carriers offer better data allowance, more and more people will use streaming (both internet radio and on-demand).

    • TuneHunter

      Labels would LOVE, LOVE if we could convert XM and Pandora to five billion dollar music stores.
      Locking music in virtual walls and starting Discovery Moment Monetization will do just that in about 24 month.

  3. Willis

    Look at the yellow pile of crap that the cute dog made.

  4. jw

    It’s hard to imagine anyone under the age of 26 purchasing one of these?

    Is it also hard for you to imagine anyone under the age of 26 purchasing vinyl records? But the last time I stood in line on a Record Store Day, nearly EVERYONE in line was under the age of 26.

    If anything, this product offers the fidelity of vinyl (or a close enough approximation) with the convenience that those under 26 demand. Why SHOULDN’T this appeal to anyone under 26? I don’t understand that line of reasoning. A lot of folks under 26 love music, but don’t want to deal with the hassle of vinyl. Or they just never knew how to get into hi-fi audio… all they knew how to do was buy a pair of Beats headphones. Neil has elegantly solved that problem with a whole ecosystem, the exact same way that Apple mainstreamed the mp3. There was a lot of confusion about digital music in the early ’00s, Apple made it simple & consumable by the average music fan by pairing a decently designed product with a co-branded store. Pono is a very well designed product with superior components & a co-branded store, retailing at the exact same price as the original ipod (cheaper, actually, if you consider inflation).

    • TuneHunter

      NO, NO and NO good. Streaming is absolutely the best way for delivery & you can stream HIFI.

      The issue is monetization!

      Tease them with best tunes you can! If it is not part of their “confirmed” play list they got pay – just 39 cents for addition to playlist with ownership as a part of the deal.

  5. sj

    Music is an artform to be experienced. Pono is a movement created with the intent of improving that experience for the listener. It’s like fast food vs. gourmet; get something edible quickly and easily or take the time to appreciate the care and attention to detail gone into something good. It’s very sad to me to see more and more people who only perceive music in terms of revenue, statistics, file type/size/quality etc. That’s how cruddy MP3’s and cruddier Bluetooth speakers have made it this far. The focus is off the art. I think degraded attention spans and multitasking have also contributed to the average listeners’ willingness to settle for poor quality. If I’ve never had a really good meal, why wouldn’t I be completely happy with eating fast food every day? It’s also interesting to see the recording artists’ attitudes toward their hard work and passion watered dwon to a crackly little toy speaker.