Recently, Pandora Inc. announced that it has arrived at an agreement with electronics company Pioneer Corporation. Soon, drivers will be able to listen to its personalized radio service in their vehicles. Bringing us one step closer to dashboard internet radio, this development represents what could prove serious competition for satellite and traditional radio. As of March, the fears of the satellite and traditional radio industries will be confronted when Pioneer releases the navigation and entertainment device that will allow Pandora users who stream the service through Apple iPhones to access Pandora in their vehicles.
It is sure that the Pandora-Pioneer product is only the beginning of what could be a real internet radio boom. With wireless internet technology today growing and advancing faster than ever, it will not be long before online radio is available in virtually any place at any time. Advancements such as mobile broadband and WiMax promise to make in-vehicle online radio a legitimate option for drivers and passengers.
What could such a development signify in the radio world? As of yet, there are no clear answers.
It is already widely known that increasingly-popular satellite radio has posed stiff competition for traditional radio. Services such as Sirius offer ten times the options proposed by regular airwaves, from talk shows to music and more. An increasing number of celebrities have moved their shows to satellite, enjoying the increased freedom it allows them in speaking their minds and choosing show content.
Now, however, internet radio is likely to give services like Series a run for their money. While some radio shows are currently broadcast currently on satellite, should internet radio be as much of a hit as it stands to be, it won’t be long before those programs become available online as well. Satellite radio could face a migration of clients away from its services.
The challenge internet poses to traditional radio is perhaps more complex and less clear. Though both satellite and internet radio have very appealing qualities, traditional radio is, well, tradition. Beyond that, it is also convenient. While both satellite and internet require the purchase of extra equipment to install in vehicles, traditional radio is already a standard part of vehicle production. Will all drivers abandon familiar, user-friendly, local and convenient in-vehicle radio? It is doubtful. The question is, how many will?
There are also questions as to what internet radio services such as Pandora could do to new music. If personalized internet radio becomes the standard, it could become increasingly difficult for new bands and artists to be heard. A first play on top radio stations such as New York’s Z-100 could in the future be much less beneficial than it is today.
Wireless internet certainly is changing the way that we live, affecting more industries than in the past we could have ever imagined. New developments in the world of in-vehicle internet radio is just one example. The Pandora – Pioneer announcement, however, does leave us with many uncertainties and questions about radio future.