BY Owen Bergwall, Green Car & Technology Contributor Owning a…
Over the last few decades, what we listen to in our cars and how we listen to it has evolved almost as much as the vehicles themselves. With the invention of the Internet and its ubiquitous integration into our everyday lives, now more than ever, consumers expect to have what they want, when they want it – all the time.
Pandora is no stranger to giving consumers what they want, and now they are providing consumers their product wherever they want it. The company gives users a free online radio experience that includes music perfectly tailored to their tastes via its Music Genome Project. Now, they have extended their personalized radio streaming services beyond the PC to the vehicle.
As a Pandora radio regular, I recently noticed a section on the website regarding automotive offerings. Curious to learn more, I contacted their press department and soon connected with the company’s Executive Vice President of Business and Corporate Development, Jessica Steel.
Steel spent a few minutes chatting with me about Pandora’s radio offerings for the car. Jessica has been with Pandora from the start, and she has remained responsible for business development for the full span of that time, which has in recent years become focused on the distribution of Pandora’s services through items other than a web browser – home consumer electronics, mobiles, and automobiles. About three years ago, Jessica helped to kick off the company’s automotive partnerships and has since built an entire team dedicated to this sector within Pandora.
Pandora does all of its mobile development in-house – which is a core part of their business Steel explained. “We saw that the first foray into automotive is through the phone because the mobile phone is the conduit,” she said. “It’s the device offering internet connectivity and typically already has Pandora loaded on it.”
According to Steel, 50 percent of all radio listening happens in the car. It’s strategic for Pandora to create a smooth transition from mobile device to in-car radio services. “The good thing for Pandora is that radio is not a new experience in the car,” Jessica explained. “We just need to make it seamless.”
We’re partnering with the auto industry because they’re the experts. They’re making the decisions on how to surface Pandora in the vehicle environment.
– Jessica Steel, EVP of Business and Community Development, Pandora
Now, the company is working with auto manufacturers and suppliers to figure out how to move the command and control from the mobile device into the head unit of the vehicle. “Pandora Link facilitates that communication,” Steel explained. And that technology spans across multiple automotive participants and aftermarket suppliers for older vehicles.
When asked about what Pandora is doing to help combat distracted driving, Steel indicated that the company lets the automakers handle that issue “since it’s their head unit” in the vehicle. The company is not currently doing anything independent from its auto partners, although they do have notices for safe driving throughout their site.
Pandora currently partners with 14 mainstream auto manufacturers, with more announcements likely to come at future Auto Shows or at the Consumer Electronics Show at the start of the year. Their automaker roster includes BMW, Buick, GMC, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, and MINI.
“We want people to be aware that they can [listen to Pandora in their cars],” said Jessica about the company’s goal for bringing awareness to the public about its automotive offerings.
“We want people to know that they can integrate [Pandora] in the new car they’re buying on the dealer lot.”
Learn more about Pandora in your car by visiting their website here. Please remember to connect your device and launch Pandora radio in your car before you get moving. It’s probably safer to just let the Music Genome Project do all the deejaying work while you focus on driving.