Neil Young raised over $6 million for his high-end music player, Pono, back in April, using a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign that earned nearly eight times its target goal of $800,000. Now Pono is moving from Kickstarter to the investment platform Crowdfunder, offering accredited investors the opportunity to purchase shares in the company for as little as $5,000.
According to a statement accompanying a press release, Crowdfunder will use a "Special Purpose Fund" to "house all these smaller investors into a single entity which invests as one investor in Pono." As of this writing, the campaign has reached 57% of its funding goal, having earned over $1.4 million of a target $2.5 million. This "raise round" will close on September 1st.
"Neil and the team at PonoMusic are excited about democratizing the financing process by giving their Kickstarter backers, and anyone who loves music, the opportunity to now invest and become an owner in PonoMusic," reads the press release.
Pono's Kickstarter campaign was the third highest-grossing venture in the site's history, with over 18,000 backers earning rewards like signature series Ponos (including pre-loaded music and autograph inscriptions from acts like Metallica, Tom Petty, Pearl Jam and, naturally, Young) and VIP listening parties with Young in California and New York City.
Young talked about his business venture in a March interview with Rolling Stone, saying he wasn't surprised by the public's reaction. "It's been pretty predictable, because I'm a musician and I know how musicians feel about sound," he said. "The record companies made some bad choices and did not realize how big [MP3s] was going to be. And when that happened, there was no alternative to the cheap sound. . . We're going to be able to play records back just like the artists made them — with absolutely no magic sauce, no DRM, no encoding, decoding, none of the things that screw with the sound and make it an intellectual property."
Pono is expected to launch in October. The player – which has a suggested retail price of $399 – offers 128 gigabytes of memory and can store between 1,000 and 2,000 high-resolution tracks.