Please Tell Us More Neil Re:Pono HiRes Streaming….

I listened with a great deal of interest to Neil Young on the Rolling Stone Magazine Now podcast. I took notes during the section that focused on Pono Music. I learned that the revised Pono Music Store will be both a download and streaming site when ready.

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/rolling-stone-music-now-podcast-neil-young-on-new-album-w455253

My question is how will we stream high-resolution audio with the existing Pono Players? Exclusive of a Pono – SmartPhone partnership or device/ existing Pono device enhancement?

Will I need to boost my ISP speed to 300MBs or more?

I researched the Internet and came up with the fact that Sony Xperia smart phones play and stream high res audio music.

http://www.sony.com/electronics/hi-res-audio-streaming-beginners-guide

The high res streaming service Qobuz (France) today streams high res. It has a limited global market (France, UK, Germany, Netherlands).

However its not streaming from Singapore…and it’s not Pono….

Hopefully Neil will further enlighten the Pono community (after all we’ve been loyal and patient) with more information about the revised Pono service after sharing that knowledge with Rolling Stone Magazine’s audience first via their podcast.

The PonoPromise

One of the benefits of participating in the PONO Music Gentle Revolution is the PonoPromise. It is a very important commitment to us who purchase on PonoMusic.Com and as stakeholders.

From: Neil Young, CEO PonoMusic

To: The Pono Community

Subject: Free Album Resolution Upgrades

Because we love and appreciate our Pono community of music lovers so much, all music purchased at PonoMusic.com will now be upgraded for FREE when a label offers a higher resolution upgrade of the same recording.

That is the PonoPromise!

People have had to deal with changing and eroding quality formats over the years, starting with vinyl, then eight tracks, cassettes, CDs, MP3s and now streaming services. Music lovers have been forced to buy or “rent” their music over and over and over again. We here at Pono, think that sucks…. But with Pono, those days are over.

Now, when you buy your favorite music at PonoMusic.com, the PonoPromise means you will never have to purchase it again, ever! If and when a higher resolution album you have already purchased becomes available, it is yours for FREE!

Read How It Works ———>¬†https://www.ponomusic.com/ccrz__CCPage?oId=a201500000BtJ9CAAV&pageKey=product&type=Update

The PonoPromise is in keeping with the Pono mission; making the best sound and the highest resolution available, always. To hear your favorite music the way it is intended to be heard, use the industry leading PonoPlayer, available at Amazon and other retailers. We are offering the PonoPromise to you, our community. You have supported us through purchasing your PonoPlayers and high resolution music at the only hi-res music ecosystem in existence – PonoMusic.com. You are engaged in the Pono community and you are helping us to raise the bar. So through the PonoPromise we say thank you.

Thank you for supporting the Pono mission to preserve music quality in its highest form.

Neil Young and the PonoMusic team

Pono Review – Stereophile April 2015

I have waited for a reputable audio publication to offer an in-depth review of the Pono Music Player.

Hopefully you haven’t insulted your intelligence by placing any value in David Pogue’s Yahoo Tech hackneyed test of the Pono Music Player.¬†(C’mon David you are head of Yahoo Tech and you don’t have a state of the art audio testing lab? Shame on you and Yahoo. Really Mr. Pogue, you were a former professional musician and Chicago’s Saturday in the Park is the high-resolution audio file to test Pono. Let’s not be L7.)

People who are seriously considering purchasing a Pono Music Player should read John Atkinson’s article, “Pono Pono Player” from the Stereophile magazine April 2015 issue.

What you will appreciate is the depth of Atkinson’s testing analysis and subsequent findings. He shares with the reader what he learned as a result of listening intently. I especially liked his interpretation of Led Zeppelin‘s “Stairway To Heaven“. He has compelled me to buy Led Zeppelin IV Deluxe Edition.

Being a Pono Music Player enthusiast I am always interested in learning more about the dynamics of my device. I applaud John Atkinson’s well structured and balanced report.

If I may just quote two lines of his review:

Considered on it’s own merits, the Pono Player is a well-engineered, high-performance, portable player that is equally at home in a conventional high-end audio system, and is offered at a fair, affordable price. In combination with the Pono Music World app, it offers a plug’n’play gateway to high-quality music reproduction.

Neil Young Limited Edition Pono Music Player Arrives

I heard for the first time today my Neil Young Limited Edition Pono Music Player. It is the warmest, richest sound I have ever heard. When I listened through my headphones to Neil’s Storytone Deluxe Edition Pono tracks I swear to God it sounded like Neil Young was playing his acoustic guitar right next to where I was seated. High resolution audio is an amazing experience, it truly is. The Gentle Revolution is underway and I consider myself fortunate to be participating in the next phase of music listening. I want to thank the Pono Music team and Neil Young for bringing us “early adopters” a great soul-ution

Ed Jennings, Pono Music Evangelist

PonoMusic Progress Update

The PonoMusic Team updated Kickstarter backers (I’m proud to be¬†included in that number) with news about strategic partnerships and product engineering progress.

PonoMusic is making great progress on the development of the new and improved PonoPlayer (the one you pledged for), as well as the on-line store, the content delivery system, and the desktop media center application.

1. Desktop Media Software

JRiver (www.jriver.com) will provide a Pono-branded version of their world-class desktop media center software. This software will be similar to the iTunes¬ģ desktop app in that it will allow you to manage your music, create playlists, sync your music to your PonoPlayer, access the PonoMusic store, buy & download music to your desktop, do player firmware updates, etc.

2. PonoMusic Store

PonoMusic will partner with CloudCraze (www.cloudcraze.com), an eCommerce platform that runs natively on the salesforce1¬ģ platform. The PonoMusic Store will be hosted through a partnership with¬†SalesForce.com.¬†PonoMusic will establish a world-class social music store. PonoMusic expects to have their PonoPlayer pre-order store (for post-Kickstarter pre-orders of PonoPlayers and some accessories) up and running in mid-to-late June. Kickstarter supporters will receive notification of¬†automatically created user accounts at that time.

3. Content Delivery

PonoMusic is days away from finalizing a partnership with a world-class content delivery partner who has great expertise in the content management and quality management issues.

Work has also begun the initiative with major music labels to have the PonoMusic store on-line with a very large, relevant and interesting content catalog by October.

Bruce Botnick has joined the PonoMusic leadership team. He is a legendary audio engineer and record producer known for his work with the Doors, Love, Buffalo Springfield, the Beach Boys, Marvin Gaye, and many other artists. Bruce is responsible for establishing the PonoMusic content strategy and ensuring that they will provide the highest quality version of each recording sold in their music store.

Bruce’s graphic below captures the state of modern recording today and depicts his motivation for joining Pono to help us save music from the lossy formats such as MP3.

4. Headphones,

The PonoMusic Team is working on several offerings that they are very excited about. Their goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to experience the flawless sound from Pono soundtracks, and do so at an affordable price. They also will be testing headphones from many of the major manufacturers and posting their recommendations on their site in a few months.

 
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Neil Young’s A Letter Home Limited Edition Box Set

My first reaction when I learned about Neil Young’s¬†A Letter Home Limited Edition Box Set¬†was first disappointment then elation at what this packaged sound solution represents. It’s truly history recorded and preserved for us to witness.

Neil Young, bless the music of his heart, is a prolific human being. He keeps us fans on our toes. I like when artists I enjoy and respect challenges us to stay in league with their artistic direction. That is something both Neil Young and Jack White very much have in common.

I had just purchased the Record Store Day 2014 A Letter Home (12″ Vinyl)¬†edition on the Third Man Records Store on Tuesday 4/22. Next I read about the expanded edition on the Guitar Afficionado Web site last night. I thought, hmmm maybe I should have waited for the box set. But who knew that as both these recordings were stealth announcements. We all love surprises, don’t we?

I became elated when I processed what the expanded edition of A Letter Home provides Neil Young and Jack White audio technology fans. Neil Young and the Pono team are delivering the sheer joy of the Pono Music Player and high-resolution audio for our listening and collecting pleasure. Pono is a technological innovation that will have far-reaching positive effects how we will appreciate music in the very near future.

At the same time Neil Young and Jack White share an affinity for music technology from another era of history. A Letter Home was recorded on ancient electro-mechanical technology. This is a striking contrast to Pono as these two technologies are literally opposite ends of the recording spectrum.

What I love about¬†A Letter Home¬†is the recording technology partnership between Jack White and Neil Young. Neil Young has recorded an entire album in¬†a refurbished 1947 Voice-O-Graph recording booth at Third Man‚Äôs Nashville headquarters. To me this is like sitting in a 1950’s kitchenette plugged into your Pigboy amp playing your electric guitar while you make music and record it on one of the first reel-to-reel tape recorders. It’s raw, it’s honest and it’s real!

I mean dig this you have Jack White purveyor of vintage vinyl and vintage recordings, our music preservationist¬†who is innovating and creating with his “vision” recording experience, working with Neil Young who is bringing us Pono. This blows my mind and makes me totally satisfied with the spectrum of recorded sound.

Now the question becomes how do I afford the limited edition box set as well as Pono?

I have a feeling where there’s a will there’s a way ūüėČ Stay tuned…

 

 

 

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Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 40th Anniversary Edition

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)¬†is Elton John’s most identifiable and best-selling studio album. ¬†It is being reintroduced in various editions in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the original recording.

1. The Super Deluxe edition of¬†Goodbye Yellow Brick Road box¬†set includes a newly remastered version of the album, a second disc containing covers by some of today’s most exciting young artists, demos and outtakes from the sessions for the albums, a two-disc recording from Elton’s December 1973 performance at the Hammersmith Odeon in London and DVD containing the 1973 documentary¬†Elton John and Bernie Taupin Say Goodbye To Norma Jean and Other Things, all housed in a beautiful presentation box and accompanied by a lavish 100-page book.

2. Exclusive to EltonJohn.com, the limited edition, remastered 2-LP edition of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is pressed on heavyweight 180-gram yellow vinyl.

3. The Deluxe Edition of¬†Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, released to mark the album’s 40th anniversary, includes a newly remastered version of the album and a second disc containing demos and outtakes from the album sessions, and a set of covers by some of today’s most exciting young artists.

4.¬†Elton’s classic 1973 album, newly remastered on HD Pure Audio Blu-ray. The Pure Audio Blu-ray combines the Blu-ray format‚Äôs vast storage capacity and bandwidth necessary for high resolution sound (up to 192 kHz/24Bit) in surround and stereo with the easy and straight-forward handling of a CD.

5.¬†A newly remastered version of¬†Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,¬†released to mark the album’s 40th anniversary.

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Talk About, X-Box Music

I was acknowledged by Hypebot, one of several music news services I follow that X-Box Music and GraceNote have entered into a strategic alliance. GraceNote and The Echo Nest represent two of the biggest metadata solutions for cloud music.

It stands to reason that since Apple iTunes has at its core a GraceNote database, that Microsoft would follow suit with X-Box Music since it closely mimics iTunes for Windows users. X-Box Music also differentiates itself from iTunes in several distinct ways.

For example, X-Box Music is now available as a distributed cross-platform application. X-Box Music became available today for Apple iOS and Google Android. X-Box Music is also available as a Web application and as a Windows 8.1 Panel App. X-Box Music is highlighted on the X-Box One where you can take advantage of X-Box Smart Glass and the¬†full-range Dolby¬ģ Digital N1 SurroundBar for maximum high performance audio.

You can free stream X-Box Music on the Web and Windows 8 for six months. I will resort to that option after I trial X-Box Music on my Apple iPhone 4s with the 30 day trial. This device option requires an X-Box Music Pass which translates into having to give Microsoft X-Box Music a charge card to hold your account reservation for the first 30 days. I will cancel on day 30 because I want to experience X-Box Music as a digital music service via AT&T 4G, but I’m not convinced to pay $9.99 a month.

pass

Initial X-Box Music testing has been fun and immediate. It’s not cumbersome and distant like I found the Google Play interface and navigation experience. I was a Zune Music user for three years before I switched to Spotify North America, on Day 1, July 14, 2011. Quite frankly I would have stayed with Zune Music if they didn’t have such a disruptive and unfriendly (rude) non-transition strategy. I was never offered a transition from Zune to X-Box Music. I was orphaned by Microsoft as a Zune Music customer. I resent their lack of acknowledgement and appreciation of my customer loyalty.

I have enjoyed Spotify these past three and a half years. I realize as a technology professional that no technology is permanent. Spotify faces competitive challenges from Google Play and X-Box Music. I don’t see iTunes Radio as a competitive challenge for Spotify nor do I see Pandora, Rdio, Amazon Player or any of the other cloud music also rans as much of a joint threat for Spotify.

I do however see significant challenges for Spotify from next years cloud music solutions Beats Music and Neil Young’s PONO. To be quite honest with you I am leaning heavily towards PONO due to its promise of 100% high-resolution audio. I suspect that X-Box Music is MP3 320kbs just like Spotify but keep in mind Beats Music is sight and audio unseen for me. I am not one of the exclusive few who is testing Beats Music.

I appreciate the Beats Audio music chassis and how intelligent curation will expand and shape my listening experience. I have a great deal of respect for Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre and Trent Reznor. I have yet to experience what the rest of the Beats Music team will bring us from the cloud.

Spotify is readying a December 11th New York City product and strategy announcement (supposedly it has something to do with¬†a new feature that will allow users to pick specific tracks and listen to them on mobile devices for free?)¬†I am eager to see if the 12/11 Spotify press conference will become a pre-emptive strike on Beats Music and You Tube Music (rumored but not formalized (announced) as of this writing) etc. Google Play should be integrated with YouTube Music if Google is smart, which they are ūüėČ

So I continue to test X-Box Music with my ecosystem (iPhone, MacBook Pro (Web) and Windows 8.1 in VMware Fusion). I’d love to experience X-Box Music on X-Box One so I understand how that works and benefits listeners.

It will be an exciting time ahead for cloud music filled with new solutions, increased functionality and dimension from existing players and the anticipated fall-out in a crowded, competitive arena.

To the victors go the spoils!

I suspect that Beats Music will partner with GraceNote too. I’d love to be pleasantly surprised to see a Beats Music and The Echo Nest partnership. Beats Music open music architecture could make it real interesting cloud music battle.

 

Neil Young Says Pono is Hawaiian for “Righteous”

I have loved Neil Young‘s book,¬†Waging Heavy Peace where he writes extensively about what was then called “Puretone” his solution to save audio, ¬†“Puretone”, has now become Pono, pronounced “Pohknow”, which is Hawaiian for “Righteous”. Neil Young has a home in Hawaii where much of Waging Heavy Peace¬†was authored.¬†Last night on David Letterman he showed a prototype of the Pono cloud music device. Imagine holding and hearing studio quality sound finally. I must have one!!!

When I finish Neil Young’s audio book I will offer a more extensive write-up on Neil Young’s “Righteous” solution. I was psyched to learn that Neil Young was working with the Sony Bob Dylan master tapes of¬†Highway 61 Revisited¬†and¬†Freewheelin (with Bob Dylan’s full blessing) to make them Pono based. This is how Pono will succeed as the music artists want 100% high-resolution audio representation of their music heard not the 5% sound we get scrunched and distributed to us by MP3.

The most comprehensive article I have read yet about Pono from an industry analysis point of view was published yesterday by Rolling Stone Magazine. I urge you to read and process Patrick Flanary’s column entitled “Neil Young Expands Pono Digital-to-Analog Music Service”. Mr. Flanary wrote a thorough study of how much Neil Young and his Pono team are positively influencing RHCP‘s Flea/Anthony Kiedis, producer Rick Rubin, along with the Big Three record labels, Warner Music, Sony and Universal Music Group.

Neil Young is getting a lot of traction with Pono, deservedly so. I don’t agree with the perception that it is an Apple iTunes “Killer” as naive members of the press are reporting. That’s being written to get you to read content. After all Neil Young met and corresponded with Steve Jobs to discuss Pono and the audio music dilemma. I see a future partnership in the offering with Pono and Apple very much along the lines of cooperation Pono is achieving with the major labels. Can you say industry standard, I knew that you could ūüėČ

It is pure speculation on my part coupled with intelligent guessing that Pono and Apple come together at some future music technology juncture. If I look at the throw down Apple needs to leap-frog or better HTC, HP and Beats by Dr. Dre, Pono could be that secret sauce for Apple. I found the one technology advancement that was missing from the iPhone 5, iTunes¬†announcement¬†was an improved music audio experience to match or better HTC/HP/Beats. Pono needs a device manufacturer, Apple distributes via iTunes the music of the industry. As Pono becomes the definitive, next level standard for music data files Apple must follow suit with a Pono story as will HTC for that matter. We could see¬†iPono in the next generation iPhone/iPod, say it ain’t so Ed, hehehe (sorry Neil and Apple) couldn’t resist…

Now that’s what I call waging heavy peace alright ; Neil this note and more’s for you!

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