Your car radio is about to get a whole lot smarter when the leading Internet music service puts you in the driver seat with unlimited music selection via your smartphone.
Pandora.com has long been a favorite of mine because it allows you to program your own radio station with a nearly endless stream of music that appeals to you. Now Pandora is teaming with automakers like Hyundai, Ford, Toyota and even Mercedes-Benz to let car audio systems work with Pandora apps on smartphones, according to USA Today.
The automakers like this idea because it helps their products appeal to people under 40. I like it because I love the free market and I love you having the choice among traditional free radio, expensive satellite radio and free customizable radio from Pandora and its competitors.
The whole idea here is taking the content you want and making it available however you want it, preferably for free or very low cost. (While Pandora itself is free, you still have to pay for the Internet connection to access Pandora on your smartphone in your car.)
The changes that are coming to the world of car radio can also be seen with what’s going on right now with TV and movies. The traditional TV/movie business model is scared of all the new ways to get content, including Netflix, RedBox and Blockbuster Express. YouTube may also be getting into the content delivery business in a big way too. (I’m not just talking about silly videos of your dog anymore, but actual shows and programs being available on the service!)
So far, though, it’s been a much simpler proposition to get digital music to you car. It can already happen for $200 with after-market kits that route your smartphone through your car’s audio system. Then you can have Pandora instead of a traditional radio or satellite subscription.