Veteran rocker Neil Young is set to launch a digital music service during a special appearance at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas this week.
The musician will use a keynote speech at the film and music conference on Tuesday to unveil his PonoMusic.com service and PonoPlayer device, which is intended to offer a better-quality alternative to iPods and other MP3 players.
A statement issued by Young reads: “It’s about the music, real music. We want to move digital music into the 21st century and PonoMusic does that. We couldn’t be more excited – not for ourselves, but for those that are moved by what music means in their lives.”
Young will set up a Kickstarter.com page on Saturday to allow fans to reserve the 128GB playback device online, with early customers scoring a discount on the $399 item, which will be capable of storing high-resolution music to allow listeners to experience “studio master-quality digital music at the highest audio fidelity possible, bringing the true emotion and detail of the music, the way the artist recorded it, to life”.
The PonoPlayer was developed by Young with engineers at Ayre Acoustics.
Young debuted a prototype of the device during a TV appearance in 2012, but plans to launch the player and downloading service in 2013 were subsequently delayed until this year.