Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Neil Young launching high-res music service

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AUSTIN, Texas -- Neil Young wants to kickstart the quality of the music you listen to.

The famed rocker plans to launch PonoMusic, his long-awaited high-resolution music initiative, later this week on Kickstarter. The crowdfunding site will be used to build support for the PonoMusic ecosystem, which will offer studio master-quality music in an online store and a $399 PonoPlayer. The portable device can store up to 2,000 digital albums.

"It's about the music, real music. We want to move digital music into the 21st century and PonoMusic does that," said Young in a statement accompanying the announcement. "We couldn't be more excited about bringing PonoMusic to the market."

Young is scheduled to discuss PonoMusic today at the South By Southwest music festival in Austin.

Consumers will be able to download and manage music using the PonoMusic computer desktop program. In addition to syncing with a PonoPlayer, other high-resolution music devices can be used.

Young has been working on the high-res music project for more than three years. He decried the state of digital music in his book Waging Heavy Peace: "My goal is to restore an art form and protect the original art while serving the music lover."

All the major labels are on board, said PonoMusic CEO John Hamm. "We've achieved our goal and we are excited to launch our Kickstarter campaign next week to invite music lovers everywhere to join the PonoMusic community and reserve a PonoPlayer for their own enjoyment," he said.

Ayre Acoustics, a Boulder, Colo., audio tech firm, helped develop the PonoPlayer. "We are absolutely thrilled to be a part of this project. We will always be grateful to Neil Young for changing the landscape of recorded music," said Ayre CEO Charlie Hansen.

-- USA Today

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 11, 2014 D2

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