I was just watching a video of Neil Young being interviewed on Letterman, and he was promoting a new media player he’s designed called the Pono. The basic idea of this is, even though it plays all digital formats, it’s main attraction is that it has the ability to play sound files gathered from the master tapes of many new and classic records. Neil has been making agreements with many record labels to make many popular albums available in this format. Now, to the big question: Will it last? I really don’t know, friends and neighbors. I hope it does, but one does have to think back to when vinyl was supposedly making a huge comeback. Later, we figured out that the new vinyl pressings were done digitally, as opposed to the original production method, where the voices and instruments were directly in those groves, rather than digitally reproduced. Basically, it amounts to an oversized CD that requires an older player that you, oddly enough, can’t easily obtain needles for. So, since the Pono will play the exact same quality audio, and perhaps will sound better, since it is from the master tapes, it might have a good chance of survival. People today want quick, easy access. This does NOT equal quality! Original vinyl is quality, but you can’t carry that around and listen to it on the go, unless you take a lot of different cables and converters…it’s just too much to worry about. With the Pono, I believe there’s a good chance that people will actually consider quality, and since it is portable, I believe it will sell reasonably well, unless the price is outrageous, or it’s only available in certain retail outlets that may or may not have enough locations to reach a large audience. I applaud Neil Young for creating this! It’s a great idea! We need more people to try to come up with ideas to bring studio quality together with iPod portability. Music has a bright future if we lean on the past. That may not sound right, at first, but you’ll soon understand it.
Until next time,
You can view the interview with Neil Young from David Letterman here:
You can view part 1 of an Analog vs. Digital conversation with T Bone Burnett, who is another supporter of analog music, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_Ft3_-K8Zk