This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Neil Young's Kickstarter Harvest Nears $5 Million

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It's hasn't been two weeks since Neil Young unveiled his new company PonoMusic on a stage at SXSW in Austin and launched a Kickstarter campaign. Within hours, that campaign blew through its goal of $800,000. At last check, it had netted over $4.8 million with 21 days to go.

While most of those backers are from the U.S., a good number are from parts of Europe, Asia and other parts of the world.

"We're delighted with the response," CEO John Hamm said, in an interview Monday with TheStreet. "The 14,000 backers to me are every bit as important as the money."

In hindsight, crowdfunding seems like the perfect vehicle for Young's company, using the singer/songwriter's rock star status to best advantage simultaneously to raise cash and generate buzz for the company's release of its products. Even Hamm said he underestimated how powerful a tool a Kickstarter campaign could be, as the community of backers themselves generated more interest in the project through social forums. That sparked a movement that, in turn, attracted additional media attention.

Must Read: Analyst Favorites With Strong Buyback Activity: The Gap Ranks As A Top Pick

"I chose Kickstarter mainly because of the intimacy of the direct connection with the customers," Hamm said. "What I underestimated was the community."

Young and Hamm initially approached venture capitalists but couldn't get a firm commitment. At SXSW, a somewhat frustrated Young laid the blame for that on the company's vision for restoring a more complete music experience through high-definition audio technology.

"I was deeply shocked by the fact that the venture capitalist world did not understand this opportunity," Young told the audience. "The fact that they couldn't own it -- that you couldn't do something to the sound that they would own."

But that may be only part of the issue. Young's technology is complex and has been under development for years, wrestling with major obstacles. Coding techniques and hardware designs were developed, scrapped and reworked. Enough pieces of the puzzle are still being hammered out that only five prototypes of the PonoPlayer exist.

Pono most resembles Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) digital music arm in that it has two big components: a $399 iPod-like piece of hardware roughly the size of a handheld mobile device; and an online store, like iTunes, that will offer a central location to find a wide variety of high-quality digital audio files. While Pono offers the opportunity for the highest quality digital audio experience, it doesn't impose its own format. The format and degree of quality are choices left to the artists.

1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $118.31 -0.48%
FB $105.50 -0.22%
GOOG $748.38 0.01%
TSLA $230.02 5.40%
YHOO $33.26 0.93%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,841.52 +29.33 0.16%
S&P 500 2,091.81 +2.67 0.13%
NASDAQ 5,120.7740 +17.9660 0.35%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs