By Annie Reuter

Neil Young sure knows a thing or two about crowd funding. His Pono Kickstarter not only reached its goal of $800,000 in its first day, but the pledges rose upwards of $6.2 million.

Today (April 15), his Kickstarter project closed having raised $6,225,354 from 18,220 backers. With the mission to provide the “best possible listening experience of your favorite digital music,” Pono have exceeded their expectations to become the third most-funded project in Kickstarter history.

Related: Interview: Neil Young Says Pono Is ‘a Revelation’ Because You Can ‘Hear Everything’

In an interview with, Young shared his delight of the funds raised.

“We made a low estimate,” Young conceded to during a phone interview. “But we are very gratified by the results and by the interest and the support and pledges behind us on Kickstarter. It’s great to have the people recognizing what it is we’re doing and why we’re doing it. There’s a lot of people out there that understand this.”

He added: “The problem is, people made music, and then it got dumbed down so you could have 2000 to 5000 or however many thousand tracks on your little device that was mostly made to play ringtones. The ringtones sound about the same quality as the music, and music is something that stands on its own. It’s an art form, so there’s a lot more depth to music than a Xerox copy of it. The same thing could be said of looking at a Xerox of the Mona Lisa — the difference between that and the Mona Lisa is the difference between what we have been listening to and what we could be listening to.”

The service entails both an online music store and the PonoPlayer, which comes in a long, triangular “Toblerone” shape as opposed to the usual flat look of most digital music players. The unorthodox design, according to the Pono Kickstarter page, enables the company “to use larger audio components and to separate them far enough apart to prevent electrical interference between the various subsystems. It also allowed us to use a large cylindrical battery that’s much more efficient than a flat battery.”

“It’s about the music, real music. We want to move digital music into the 21st century and PonoMusic does exactly that,” Young said in a release, which was posted on Neil Young News. “We couldn’t be more excited about bringing PonoMusic to the market.”


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