Scandal Brewing: Neil Young’s PonoPlayer Actually a PonziScheme?


“Eat a peach, suckers.”

 By Blurt Staff

 So here’s the scenario: a trusted person in a position of great power or influence convinces you to give him a substantial amount of money, and he will subsequently invest it in a project (sometimes called a “fund,” other times simply a “product”) that he claims will reap you untold benefits in the long run that far outstrip your initial investment. Oh, and tell your friends about it, too, because they just have a limited amount of time to “get in on the ground floor” and reap said benefits before the hoi polloi get wind of it and want to crash the party, too.

 That is, more or less, the definition of a Ponzi scheme, and a number of people in recent years such as Bernie Madoff—you may have heard of him—have gone to jail for putting such financial scams in motion.


Today, the FBI raided Neil Young’s North California ranch, loaded with search warrants, and were later seen carrying out hundreds of file boxes and electronic gear as the vaunted rocker was rumored to be under suspicion of launching such a scheme, otherwise known as his Kickstarter campaign for his so-called high-quality portable music delivery device known as the PonoPlayer. “The similarity between the names Pono and Ponzi is so ironic it’s impossible to ignore,” noted Rolling Stone impresario Jann Wenner, long a Young supporter, in an editorial for his publication. “I hate to say it, but it looks like somebody’s powderfingers are about to get burned.”

 Full details are sketchy, and an indictment has yet to be handed down. But it is telling that the raid coincided with the news that the crowdfunding campaign for the PonoPlayer had just reached a significant milestone. As TechCrunch notes, “The portable music player is alive and well. Pono Music’s PonoPlayer just crossed the $5 million milestone on Kickstarter, making it the fourth most funded project in the site’s history. Twelve thousand backers have pledged enough to pre-order the device. And there is still 16 days to go on its campaign.”


Kickstarter reportedly has received “thousands” of queries from concerned fans who pledged $399 or more to get in on the proverbial ground floor for Pono. No official Kickstarter statement has been issued as of yet. However, at Young’s recently established official Twitter account the following cryptic tweet was posted:

 “Funny how things that start spontaneously end spontaneously. Eat a peach, Neil”.

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