Young has long looked down upon the quality of music available for MP3 players and the big businesses that he claims do not know what good music should sound like. According to his new memoir, Waging Heavy Peace, Young is attempting to "rescue recorded sound so people can feel music again."
Pono, which is Hawaiian for righteous, will attempt to provide music that is "the best it can be". He wants the music to have all of the nuance and clarity of the original work and Young will have each song certified by the artist or record company that owns the rights to the work before it will be offered on Pono.
Young has begun testing the Pono sound by playing his digital-to-analog tracks in a 1978 Cadillac Eldorado for big names in music, such as Kid Rock, Beastie Boys' Mike D, members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Tom Petty. He recorded the various artists' reaction to the music to use in marketing campaigns.
Young filed trademark applications for PONO PROMISE and 21ST CENTURY DIGITAL near the beginning of December, both of which he is already using on his website, mypono.com. Young registered the trademarks for both online and retail store services along with MP3 players and other devices used to listen to music and music cases.
Investor Gigi Brisson, who registered the mypono.com domain name and is listed in a recent U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing as a director of one of Young's companies Ivanhoe Inc., said that it is too early to say much about Pono. He said that the company is still in its infancy and anything could happen, as there are still too many variables involved.
Young, however, has put Pono on Facebook and Twitter and has been trying to spread word about the project. According to tweets by Young, Pono's web-based music library will be in place by summer 2013 and he expects to have digital-to-analog portable players ready for purchase around the same time.