The Pono Kickstarter Campaign and Neil Young’s Fans

03/12/2014

I’ve written about Neil Young’s Pono here and here. I mentioned that the use of a Kickstarter campaign suggests that investors aren’t ready to put their money into something like this.

However, in just 24 hours, the Kickstarter has exceeded its funding level. Asking for $800,000, it has already gotten pledges, as of the time of this writing, of over $1.3 million. That’s pretty impressive.

However, when you look closely, you see that what is driving this interest is Neil Young himself. It’s likely that most of the pledgers are hardcore Neil Young fans. Look in the right-hand column at the different Pono models available. The Neil Young and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young “signature” models are sold out; only one the other artist models has sold more than one hundred (Pearl Jam), and the next highest is Tom Petty with with 104 sales. It’s odd, though, that the Crosby, Stills & Nash model hasn’t been popular, with only 34 sales.

Also, while those numbers look impressive, it only adds up to – again, at the time of this writing – around 3,000 units sold. There’s no limit to how many of the standard units will be sold, and it will be interesting to see how many people go for this device at the end of the Kickstarter. Even if 10,000 people buy it, that’s still just a blip in the larger market of music player sales.

See also: Music, not Sound: Why High-Resolution Music Is a Marketing Ploy.