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Neil Young and the Damage Done

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Crowds can achieve results. Ask people in Tahrir Square or Kiev. But does that concept apply to selling a product like the Pono, the high-fidelity music player backed by Neil Young?

In the world of "crowd sourcing," pooling funds from a large group of people to help achieve an objective is increasingly popular means for charitable and commercial ventures. Its potential received great fanfare this week as legendary musician Neil Young sought funding for a project to create a high-fidelity system for playing digital music that restores all of the sounds and nuances of the original recordings as intended by the artists.

Neil Young has been adamant about his feelings for digital recordings and thinks that songs on Apple's (AAPL) iPhone "sound like crap." Even Steve Jobs wasn't satisfied with the sound of music on the iPod.

As an artist proud of his work, and together with a growing collection of other well known artists who feel the same way, there is certainly a case to be made for providing a medium that faithfully recreates the experience. Of course, doing so requires capital and investment and is faced with long odds when the competitor is Apple.

Young is using Kickstarter, a leading source for crowdsourcing that offers rewards for contributions based upon the level of donation, or "pledge."

As an example, a $5 pledge to this campaign entitles the donor to "LOVE + THANKS" and a mention on the website. Greater amounts give you T-shirts, signed posters and a discounted price on the music player. At the highest level, $5,000 donors receive a "VIP Dinner and Listening Party with Neil Young."

These rewards surely have some personal value, but what I see is greed.

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