The Pono store is live, and whaddaya know, that shit is expensive! Ever since he rolled it out on Letterman, Neil Young’s high-quality digital audio player already seemed like a product designed strictly for boomers with money to blow. The Pono player’s $400 price tag seemed to confirm that, and now that the Pono store is live, there can be no doubt. If the featured selection didn’t tip you off to the target demo — along with three Young solo releases, the front page highlights new releases by the likes of Foo Fighters, Wilco, Jack White, and Tom Petty plus ancient releases from the Doors, Led Zeppelin, and CSN — the prices will do the trick. Young’s seminal After The Goldrush will run you $21.79. White’s recent Lazaretto costs $24.99. Feel free to pay $17.99 for the self-titled Doors album you can find in any used record bin in America. Reflektor is retailing for $18.29, and it doesn’t even score well on the audio quality rating meter thingy that accompanies each release, see?
To be fair, the prices are about what you’d pay for these albums on new vinyl — D’Angelo’s Black Messiah is going for $17.99, which is the same price Amazon is charging for the LP — but part of the vinyl price is supposed to account for manufacturing costs and the tactile experience of physical ownership. To pay these kinds of prices for glorified FLAC files is madness — and yet, judging from the smashing success of Pono’s Kickstarter campaign, there are people out there ready and willing to pay. Browse the selection here.
UPDATE: The Verge reports than Pono’s music player will hit retail stores (80 of them, including Fry’s in the U.S.) on Monday. It costs $399, which is considerably cheaper than the new luxury Walkman.