Neil Young's Kickstarter funding campaign for his new PonoMusic service doesn't wrap up until April 15, but it's already an unqualified success.
The drive has so far netted more than $5.75 million in pre-purchases of the Pono player, making it the third most-funded campaign in Kickstarter history. Young tells us he's pleased but not necessarily surprised at the high demand for the high-fidelity audio service:
"We doubled our goal in 24 hours, which is a significant accomplishment. It's hard to ignore that there seems to be a market there for what we're offering. I think there are a lot of people who remember good-sounding music, even if they're in the older generation. It'd be interesting to know how old the people are who are buying this product like this, and it probably is people who understand what they don't have now, not people who don't understand what they don't have now -- although some of them may be curious."
In a statement, meanwhile, PonoMusic CEO John Hamm said that, "We are so excited about hitting this milestone. The campaign has exceeded our expectations from the start. By taking a nontraditional crowdfunding approach, we have been able to unveil PonoMusic our way -- directly to the customers."
Hamm says Pono currently has 16,000 "active backers" with another 5,000 comments, suggestions and questions on its web site, adding that, "This is incredibly valuable consumer feedback and we will be a much better company at launch because of the engagement from the PonoMusic community."
For the final week of the Kickstarter campaign, PonoMusic has added a player with transparent casing which comes pre-loaded with a music sampler chosen by Young, Hamm and others in the company. PonoMusic is expected to launch in the late summer or fall.