Someone might have re-invented the MP3 player

Posted on 05/05/2014 by Chadanuch Pomankul

Pono Music

“Today Apple is reinventing the phone” were the famous words Steve Jobs announced before introducing the revolutionary iPhone in 2007.

And this year someone just reinvented the MP3 player. But it’s not Apple. And it’s not Samsung either.

It’s a new company that unveiled the Pono Player just two months ago. Asking for USD 800,000 on Kickstarter they ended up pocketing USD 6 million from backers.

So what is so different about this new music player?

To understand the whole story, let’s go back and see how we have consumed and enjoyed music so far.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s when my parents were young music was enjoyed at home, in clubs, bars and concerts.

It wasn’t until Sony came out with the Walkman that music was consumed on the go.

Sony’s Walkman allowed you, for the first time, to take your music with you. What we consider as completely normal behaviour today, namely plugging in your headphone and listening to music, was a very new concept just a few decades ago.

Music distribution switched from LPs to digital music – CDs. Most music was still played on HiFi sets or portable devices, but not on a computer. Why? An audio CD is around 700MB and that was an awful lot of space not long a go.

Help was on the way though. In the 1990s researches at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany came up with a way to compress data in audio files to a fraction of their original size.

In 1996 the new file format was finalized and given to the public to use. They named it MP3.

MP3 files changed the entire music industry. An entirely new different product category was created – MP3 players. Apple’s iPod with the iTunes music store revolutionized the music industry like the Walkman did a few decades ago.

Today you can carry around your music library in your pocket. However, the audio quality hasn’t improved. In fact, it deteriorated.

If you convert music to an MP3 file you compress the data to one tenths of their size. 15 years ago, that was necessary as storage and bandwidth was precious. With even movies and TV series being distributed via the internet and YouTube offering 1080p videos, that’s no longer the case anymore.

But we’re still listening to MP3 quality audio tracks. Why?

That’s what the guys at Pono Music thought. They set off to change that and might just have re-invented music (or at least how we consume music).

Pono Music seeks to provide music with resolutions of up to thirty times of an MP3. That means that each file size is around thirty times the size of an MP3. Impossible just a decade ago but in today’s glass fibre connected world the perfect solution for audiophiles.

What’s even more important, many major labels are in the boat to support the Pono Music store.

So if you’re an audiophile, Pono Music might just be what you’ve been waiting for!

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