... so today seems to be the day everyone is chiming in on PONO. I've known about this for a while... and while I think it's a good idea at heart... it's kinda like seeing a concept horse and buggy at the autoshow.
I feel sorry for Neil Young... I think his heart is in the right place but he either hasn't surrounded himself with forward thinking techies and/or hasn't been told the truth about where things are going... or worse, he's surrounded himself with a group of 'yes men' that just want to make a quick buck off his celebrity endorsement.
So PONO... for those who don't know, is a service/device that plays higher quality audio files. Haven't you always wished all those MP3's you bought (or maybe didn't buy) sounded better?
Maybe... if this was 2001.
Things have gotten way better though... in fact, better to the point nobody really seems to care... and by nobody, I mean the general public... the ones who actually consume all this music in the first place.
I just read a post on facebook saying producers and labels should be really interested in the technology but here's the thing... we (producers/labels) don't buy the albums... the fans do. It's like saying the farmers care about the food... no... the people eating the food care about the food. Farmers only growing food with the intention of feeding other farmers is called jazz.
Anyway, if a record sounds that bad, the fans will speak up... and you only hear of a couple notable turd albums/songs a year at most. Often they're the result of someone in the chain screwing things up one way or another. Hell... think about how albums are being made these days.
Anybody coming up is working off their laptop with whatever gear they have. The good stuff rises... the quality is irrelevant if the song's a hit! Making a great sounding recording these days is cheap and easy... and I'd be curious if Neil would be ok with making an album on a laptop and releasing it into the wild for fans to consume for free... because that's basically what's going currently.
... but the main point PONO doesn't seem to grasp... is people don't want to own music... they don't want that even more than they don't want to buy another device that'll become obsolete as soon as they take off the plastic... and risk dropping in the toilet.
Think about it... why did we like MP3 players over CDs? Why did we like CD's over cassettes? Why did we like cassettes over vinyl?
Storage and logistics.
Each has been easier to transport and more convenient than the last... and we're well into the process of replacing our super convenient MP3 collection with streaming... and the bottleneck isn't the playback device. It's our ISP's (Internet Service Providers). Eventually we'll have enough bandwidth and quick enough data transfers to stream high resolution audio on whatever device you want.
Any music, anytime, anywhere.
We don't need to own the music. We just want to stream it.
We don't need to have a copy of the file any more.
We want to be able to pull it out of thin air... via subscription service or simply as part of our Phone/ISP data package.
We've been spoiled and anybody under 20 probably doesn't really know anything different. There's no going back now. We know this option exists and there's always someone who can make this option available. You can't put the genie back in the bottle.
Dare I say we've crossed the "sex" threshold with this relationship.
... PONO... I hope you enjoy your well intentioned milk and hugs... but our smartphones are the ones currently doing the dirty work... soon to be replaced fully by tablets. The killer app for audio quality will be just that, an app... not another device.
P.S. I've heard Pono referred to as an "iPod rival". Apple cannibalized it's own iPod with the iPhone. Just something to consider here.
P.P.S. Sorry if some of this doesn't make sense... only had a short break... back to tracking acoustics. :-)
P.P.P.S The audiophiles who want Pono have been and will be fine without it... and the money they might help generate will be such a tiny drop in the ocean of revenue anyway. Anybody have numbers on Super Audio CD's? Anybody even remember them?
Mike Langford - Official Blog
Being on both sides of the glass, I get the chance to wear many hats in the music industry. This is a place to share my thoughts, views, predictions, rants, stories and news!