Neil Young’s investor pitch SXSW presentation came to an embarrassing halt when CEO John Hamm failed to answer a simple question … “what’s your cut?”.

What was thought to be a Pono launch was actually a Pono pitch with Young revealing that the much publicised player would not be available until October. The purpose of the SXSW presentation was to solicit crowdfunding.

That they did well. At the time of the start of the presentation Pono had raised $500,000, half of the expected $1m raise. Later in the evening, $800,000 had been pledged through Crowdfunding via Kickstarter.

However, the killer question revolved around what the Pono store would charge artists to sell their music. Young, an artist who sold the labels on the basis that he was “one of them” was supportive when his CEO fumbled. Hamm struggled to answer the question. “It surprises most people that everyone who buys music from the record labels pays exactly the same amount,” was the answer.

Even Neil Young was taken aback. “That’s a delicate question, isn’t it?” Young said. Hamm dug a deep hole telling the moderator “we can end it”.

That pretty much killed the prior presentation.

Pono did not come across as unique or as an industry savior. It just came across as another confused work in progress device, thanks to John Hamm.

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