The researcher’s objective in this paper is to address the issue of the compromise that has been occurring throughout the years, wherein music producers are forced to present material to their audience in simplified, compressed forms. In particular, the researcher would like to dissect Neil Young’s most current innovation – the Pono music player, and analyze whether or not its attempts at aiding this audiophiliac dilemma poses potential success. The researcher also aims to look at whether or not the general public presents a need for this type of product, seeing as there are numerous portable music players already accessible on the market.
Over the course of several decades, the engineer’s mind has proven adamant in its attempts at producing and delivering high-fidelity music to the general public. Canadian musician, Neil Young identifies with this statement as he reveals his latest addition to the gallery of high-resolution music players – the Pono music player. With numerous products containing a similar concept available in the market, Young and the investors of this project are faced with the question of whether or not there is a need for another device of this nature, and whether or not the general public recognizes the same musical dilemma of having to listen compromised-quality audio.
“Pono” takes its name from the Hawaiian term for “righteous” or “goodness.” In a speech Canadian singer/song-writer, Neil Young gave during the 2014 South By Southwest Festival in Texas, he explains that Pono is potentially a great way to serve music to an artist’s audience in the best quality possible: the quality in which producer wishes for it to be heard.
The body of literature on management of technology and innovation labels compressed audio formats as platform technologies. Platforms are products, technologies or services consisting of core components, which remain stable, and interfaces which allow the core components to operate with complements as one system (Baldwin & Woodard 2009). In 1877, Thomas Alva Edison initiated what would be centuries of audio platform inventions by devising the Phonograph with the use of tinfoil and a spinning cylinder. Similarly, the first 33 and 45 rpm (revolutions per minute) disks were brought to life in 1932 and 1949 (Langlois & Robertson, 1992). The first Compact Cassette Tape was introduced in 1963, which was followed by the introduction of the Compact Disc in 1982, which lead to the appearance of MP3 players in 1998.
In the last two decades, we have witnessed how audio codecs, in particular the MP3 audio compression format (also known as the MPEG-1 Layer 3 standard), changed the music industry (Den Uijil, 2013). Due to the desire for music lovers to fit as many songs as possible into their portable music players, download platforms and artists like iTunes and Band Camp have been forced to provide the public with compromised audio formats whose priorities lie on compression and the...