Neil Young to launch Kickstarter campaign for Pono Music at SXSW

The singer will outline launch plans for iTunes rival during keynote speech at the US festival

Neil Young to launch Kickstarter campaign for Pono Music at SXSW

Photo: Getty

Neil Young is reportedly preparing to reveal his long-awaited Pono digital music service and portable music player at SXSW in Austin, Texas later this week.

Young will give a keynote speech at the US festival and is expected to confirm a $399 (£240) price for the player as well as the fact that it will be available to fans via Kickstarter. According to a leaked press release published on fansite Neil Young News, the US singer will launch the PonoPlayer crowdfunding campaign on March 15 with early buyers benefiting from a discount on the launch price.

Pono will consist of a digital music service (Pono Music) and 128GB portable device (PonoPlayer) capable of storing 1-2,000 high resolution songs. The PonoPlayer is described in the press release as a "purpose-built, portable, high-resolution digital-music player designed and engineered in a "no-compromise" fashion to allow consumers 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."

In his book Waging Heavy Peace, released in 2012, Young explained how Pono will help to "save the sound of music". Young claims in the book that had emailed Steve Jobs about Pono before his death last October: "I have consistently reached out to try to assist Apple with true audio quality, and I have even shared my high-resolution masters with them," he writes, before stating that his service will "force iTunes to be better and to improve quality at a faster pace".

Meanwhile, Neil Young is set to release a brand new memoir this autumn. The book follows Waging Heavy Peace and will interweave stories about the artist's love of cars with recollections from his life. Publishers Blue Rider have called the book an "eclectic amalgam".

Young's next album will be released on the Third Man Records label owned by Jack White. Young has said that the record will be released this month and the record is described as: "An unheard collection of rediscovered songs from the past recorded on ancient electro mechanical technology captures and unleashes the essence of something that could have been gone forever…".

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