Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Implications Of Euro BMW's Streaming Music

BMW 5 Series image
There's been talk for a number of years now how streaming music would eventually become standard in all new cars, but despite the predictions, it hasn't come to pass - until now. BMW just announced that their European Series 5 autos now come with access to mobil carrier Vodafone's Rara streaming music catalog, and it will be available in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands.

On the surface this only sounds like the next evolution of streaming music, but dig a little deeper and you find that the deal includes 3G access wherever you can get a signal without any extra charges, cables or devices. The trick to this is that each car has it's own embedded SIM, which means that the radio isn't the device, the car is!

For this you pay a flat fee of about $500 for the first year and $285 for each year thereafter, but that includes mobil voice and offline access as well. It's steep, but definitely cheaper than any alternative in Europe, especially if you drive the continent extensively and have to subscribe to a variety of services in different countries.

But the implications are many, especially back here in the US. Since so much of traditional terrestrial radio now depends upon drive-time listening, imagine the hit it would take should a version of Beemer audio hit the States. There's an entire broadcast industry that hasn't yet quite felt the evolutionary heat like music and television has, but that writing is on the wall.

Image what this will do for music discovery? While it's true that YouTube is the leader in music discovery online, radio is by far the leader across all media categories. The major labels still depend upon the radio infrastructure of yesterday to spread their new music and cultivate top 40 hits. Legions of listeners tuning out to listen to their custom streaming channels could finally turn this paradigm on its ear. Could this eventually lead to the final nail in major label (as we know it) coffin?

Sometimes the smallest event is all it takes to trigger a huge change. Could something like the 3G Beemer be the one that triggers the next?

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1 comment:

Rand Bliss said...

So a radio in your car just isn't good enough anymore?

The Digital Devil strikes again...


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