Neil Young's mission with Pono is about much more than a single music player; the rock legend made as much clear in an interview with GigaOm earlier today. During that chat, Young revealed that Pono plans to certify third-party devices with a Pono stamp of approval whenever they meet the company's stringent standards for audio quality. Certification won't be free, but Young said it's a nominal fee and the Pono seal will tell listeners that they're hearing music in its purest form. "It can say ‘certified Pono’ or it can say ‘branded Pono’. Those are the two things we offer, and neither of them are very expensive," Young said. And it turns out Pono already has its first partner lined up: Harman.
Pono's plan is to certify third-party devices
Here at CES, the two companies have announced they'll be collaborating to bring Pono's high-resolution audio catalog to automobiles. Harman isn't outlining specific plans for a car stereo, but says its CEO and Young have "discussed solutions to offer the PonoMusic catalog and supreme, lossless HD quality playback in vehicles."
"Our collaboration with Harman, the leader in branded car audio, is an exciting step forward in our journey to bring HD-quality music to people wherever they want to listen to it," Young said in a press release. Pono's officially moved beyond its successful Kickstarter birth to a wide consumer launch; anyone will be able to buy one of the players for $399.99 starting Monday. Young also mentioned Pono will have a presence in Best Buy. Young has said Pono's mission isn't to sell millions of units; instead, he wants to bring the highest grade of music to the ears of people who want it — and are willing to pay for it.