Beta vs. VHS. Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD. The electronics industry has a long history of issuing competing products that battle it out for market supremacy.
It looks like it could happen again, this time with a superior alternative to the limited MP3 format.
Neil Young has announced that his new PONO music service will launch in early 2014. He made the announcement Tuesday on his Facebook page:
To everyone who loves music –On Wednesday, Sony announced their own new line of products that "will provide music enthusiasts with a better way to experience their favorite recordings", calling it Hi-Res Audio.
I’m very happy to bring you some good news. All of us at Team PONO have been focused on getting everything right for our early 2014 launch of Pono.
The simplest way to describe what we’ve accomplished is that we’ve liberated the music of the artist from the digital file and restored it to its original artistic quality - as it was in the studio. So it has primal power.
Hearing PONO for the first time is like that first blast of daylight when you leave a movie theater on a sun-filled day. It takes you a second to adjust. Then you enter a bright reality, of wonderfully rendered detail.
This music moves you. So you can feel. That’s why so many musicians are behind PonoMusic – this is important work that honors their art. This is the way they wanted you to hear their music.
PONO starts at the source: artist-approved studio masters we’ve been given special access to. Then we work with our brilliant partners at Meridian to unlock the richness of the artist’s music to you. There is nothing like hearing this music - and we are working hard to make that experience available to all music lovers, soon.
Our mission is also to make PONO just as accessible as any music you buy and listen to today. So we’ll be launching both the PONO portable player – an updated version of the one I showed on David Letterman’s program – and an online library, with all your favorite music available in PonoMusic quality. Everything you need to feel music anew.
Stay tuned for more updates. And be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest information. We hope you’ll try PONO when it comes your way, and that it brings you the soul of music.
Yours, for PonoMusic –
The new products are in conjunction with the Consumer Electronics Association and other "leading electronic companies" and includes "a new line of Sony products that make high resolution audio a more convenient, compelling and cost-effective listening experience for digital music enthusiasts everywhere."
Phil Molyneux, president and COO of Sony Electronics, said "It's been more than a decade since the first MP3 digital downloads and music players were introduced to the public. Now is the time to offer high-resolution audio products that bring music enthusiasts closer to their favorite recordings, and allow them to experience those recordings the way the artists, producers and engineers always intended."
The company has also put together an eighteen-song playlist that will be pre-installed on select new Hi-Res audio players. The track list:
- Spinning Wheel - Blood, Sweat & Tears
- Blue Rondo A la Turk - Dave Brubeck Quartet
- So What - Miles Davis
- Watermelon Man - Herbie Hancock
- Cloverfoot Reel - Yo-Yo Ma
- Lazy Afternoon - Wynton Marsalis
- Georgia On My Mind - Willie Nelson
- Black Magic Woman - Santana
- Your Smiling Face - James Taylor
- Never Too Much - Luther Vandross
- Paper Doll - John Mayer
- Come Rain or Come Shine - B.B. King / Eric Clapton
- Baby, I Love You - Aretha Franklin
- Easy - Sheryl Crow
- They Can't Take That Away From Me - Ella Fitzgerald / Louis Armstrong
- Miriam - Nora Jones
- Practical Arrangement - Sting
- Good Vibrations - The Beach Boys