Along with 120,000 other gadget fans, we’ll be at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week to check out the newest technologies hitting the market and support the latest and greatest music delivery services showcased at the nation’s largest electronics show. The range and breadth of innovation is staggering. Amidst the sea of announcements of new services and platforms, there are a few things that stand out and particularly excite us, one being the development and further expansion of digital music services in automobiles, such as Ford’s SYNC system by Microsoft and Toyota’s Entune platform by Nuance. Both are integrated into the car’s navigation system and follow voice commands so that users can easily access Internet and Satellite radio, get directions, make dinner reservations and more without ever taking their hands off the wheel. Or test drive the streaming service MOG and its Fusion program, which enables the integration of the music company’s programming into the car’s in-vehicle controls. This is innovative thinking at its best and gives a whole new meaning to the term “smart car.”
Another reason why these are platforms worthy of the music industry’s support? Digital radio services like Slacker, Sirius, MOG, Pandora and others compensate artists and labels for the music that is the foundation of their business. That’s not the case with traditional AM/FM broadcasters. We have a dedicated interest in the success of those digital music services that support our creative community by paying royalties, unlike radio broadcasters who don't pay us a dime. Radios in today’s modern vehicles are increasingly transitioning from antiquated, one-way analog systems that don’t compensate artists to satellite and Internet streaming centers built on consumer choice and connectivity that do compensate artists. That’s something we can get behind and will do our part to help promote.
So lock yourself in your car and rock out whenever these music-friendly custom models hit the market later this year. And for a taste of things to come, check out this video from USA Today which features Pandora founder Tim Westergren demonstrating the service’s sleek in-dashboard function in a BMW Mini-Cooper.
Cary Sherman, President, Recording Industry Association of America