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Neil Young's PonoMusic hits Kickstarter

Neil Young's Pono service has been in development for several years, but hi-res music fans are finally be able to purchase a first-edition PonoPlayer on Kickstarter for $200.



Update 2:39 p.m. ET: The early bird pricing of $200 is now gone, but pledgers who put up $300 or more will receive a PonoPlayer.

Neil Young's PonoPlayer has been in development for several years, but after months of rumor and conjecture of its potential release date it has finally been announced today on the PonoMusic Kickstarter.

The Pono service will incorporate two separate components: PonoMusic, an online store of high resolution music; and the hardware PonoPlayer.

Neil Young announced the PonoPlayer on the Late Show with David Letterman in 2012, and despite rumors that Young was creating a new audio format the Pono Kickstarter page makes clear that this is not a proprietary service -- it supports FLAC playback at the very least.

"PonoMusic is an end-to-end ecosystem for music lovers to get access to and enjoy their favorite music exactly as the artist created it, at the recording resolution they chose in the studio", according to the Kickstarter description.

Young told Wired in September 2013 that he had the support of a three major labels for the music service, but given that the player supports non-proprietary FLAC up to 24/192kHz it would appear PonoPlayer customers can also use other services like HDTracks.

On the weekend, Young's purported press release leaked to the press and the Kickstarter wasn't expected to debut until Wednesday, March 12, at the earliest. The release had set the price at $399, but Kickstarters who pledge at least $200 have been promised a first-generation player in October 2014.

Neil Young is due to officially announce PonoMusic and the PonoPlayer at a keynote tonight at SXSW in Austin, Texas.