Neil Young’s PonoPlayer Passes $5m In Kickstarter Pledges

The portable music player is alive and well. Pono Music’s PonoPlayer just crossed the $5 million milestone on Kickstarter, making it the fourth most funded project in the site’s history. Twelve thousand backers have pledged enough to pre-order the device. And there is still 16 days to go on its campaign.

The project launched on March 11 and hit its goal within the day. It’s clear that consumers that want something more than an iPod.

The PonoPlayer is a high-fidelity portable music player. Rather than playing back MP3s, the device supports FLAC audio files that contain significantly more data than their MP3 counterparts, resulting in a dramatically higher quality sound than a traditional MP3 player.

Music is served through the PonoPlayer’s music store, which is also part of the Kickstarter project. The files are all lossless audio, therefore the file sizes are larger than the average iTunes download. The PonoPlayer sports 128GB of storage, which is good for about 100 albums.

Neil Young isn’t creating an iPod rival. This is something for people who listen to albums over and over again and crave the highest quality audio possible. It’s for musicians rather than a causal listener.

Call it a Toblerone bar. Call it a relic of the past. But you also have to call it successful.