The average American listens to about 17 hours of radio each week. Half of that is in the car. Pandora recognized this early on and began partnering with consumer electronics companies to bring its music streaming services to as many devices as possible. And in just the last year, Pandora has announced in-car integration with some major OEMs. Ford was the first up with its AppLink system for Sync, followed by BMW, and now Toyota's Entune and GM's MyLink will be on board when both systems launch this fall.

So what does this have to do with Spotify? It's the next major evolution in music consumption. And it's got the potential to completely change how you jam out in your car.

Granted, Spotify isn't the first subscription-based music service to launch in the U.S. Rdio, MOG, Napster and (if you really want to include it) Zune Pass have all offered similar all-you-can-eat music services in the States. Spotify is largely the same. You sign up for free and and can listen to music for a set number of hours. If the ads start harshing your groove, you can upgrade to the $5 a month program which removes the ads and ups your hours. But the real revolution comes in the form of the Premium service ($10 a month) that allows you to not only stream unlimited music, but sync your favorite tracks to your smartphone or MP3 player for offline listening.
While this isn't anything revolutionary by itself, it's the scale that sets Spotify apart.

While this isn't anything revolutionary by itself - MOG and Rdio have been doing it for years - it's the scale that sets Spotify apart. Pandora only allows you to pick an artist and listen to a customized station, whereas Spotify, Rdio and MOG lets you download full albums to your device. Pandora has less than a million songs to stream, while Rdio and MOG are both in the middles of millions. Spotify: Over 13 million tracks and counting.

Because of its massive catalog (painstakingly negotiated with the music industry) and popularity abroad (10 million users in Europe, before its U.S. launch), automakers have to take note. Streaming and syncing are the future of music consumption, and while some will still prefer to purchase their music outright (and possibly use cloud storage systems from Apple, Amazon and Google) the unfettered access and instant gratification offered by a service like Spotify will be hard to pass up. Ten bucks a month is a steal to get nearly any track, anytime, anywhere.

Similar services like MOG, which is being incorporated into Mini models and likely to come to BMW and other OEMs later this year, are a good start, but they just can't compete with the amount of media attention and scale Spotify brings to the table. By next year, every major automaker will have some streaming music system incorporated into it's infotainment offerings, and while Spotify might not be the frontrunner yet, if its adoption is as widespread as predicted, OEMs won't have a choice.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 26 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      bscmth
      • 3 Years Ago
      I can't keep up with all of this.
      Chris Woolman
      • 3 Years Ago
      Can't forget out Spotify's most obvious competitor, Rhapsody. Both are very similar services and their music catalogs are very similar as well. Rhapsody doesn't offer a free version, but their mobile app has more functionality than Spotify's. What Spotify offers that nobody else does is the integration of your iTunes library into their desktop app. Nice to have all your music within one app.
      karmamule
      • 3 Years Ago
      A few comments: you should have mentioned Rhapsody, the oldest and largest of the existing music subscription services in the US. Rhapsody also has about 13 million tracks and about 800,000 subscribers. Also, while rdio's catalog size is notable smaller than the other services, Mog also has a music catalog similar in size to Rhapsody and Spotify. I use all these services and blogged my first impressions of Spotify as well as did some comparisons of it to Rhapsody, Mog, and rdio in a post on my blog at http://cloudmusic.tumblr.com/post/7639573330/spotify-in-the-us-first-impressions I went through a decent-sized list of my favorite artists and actually found Rhapsody to have the largest catalog. Having said that, you're right that Spotify has the lion's share of media buzz right now, and it's "freemium" model is more likely to convince music subscription sceptics than the free trials the other services use. But, in terms of features and catalog size most of the existing US services are actually pretty close to Spotify, and it'll be interesting to see if the rush of attention to Spotify actually helps them by making people more comfortable with the whole concept.
      CJ
      • 3 Years Ago
      Can you explain "and (if you really want to include it) Zune Pass"? It has 12 million songs in the catalog, allows you to stream or download(for off-line listening on PC, phone, Zune Player, or XBox) an unlimited number of songs. Plus, it allows you to download 10 DRM free songs to keep a month for $14.99 or less for longer subscriptions. I was all excited by the hype of Spotify until I realized that it's less than I get with my Zune Pass. I've already used Pandora, LastFM. Rdio, and Slacker but they all have limitations. Zune's one BIG problem is the lack of access from non-MS devices which I hope they will change but I have 2 PCs, and Windows Phone 7, and an xBox. Being that MS built Ford's SYNC, I would hope they would offer the best integration in a car.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yeah so i forked over $5 for this. Awkward interface and the only way to find new music is to search for the artist in a search bar. No way to get suggestions, browse by category, rate things, etc. Even free services like last.fm and pandora do this. Basically useless to me because ot that. They won't give me my money back either after only having it for 1 hour either. Not recommended.
        Swede
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        Are you blind? There are suggestions, there are categories and there is a radio-mode.
      Jeff S.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sounds like a similar model that Netflix uses with their streaming service. They likely intend to use a low rate to attract many users, put competition out of business, and then jack prices up when they relatively dominate. Nothing new I know, but the recent events with Netflix make this all to familiar.
      stclair5211
      • 3 Years Ago
      My pandora is free. Mimimal ads. Keep your stupid name and $5 a month fee. Now how much did Autoblog receive for running this piece???
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        theblackporsche
        • 3 Years Ago
        Have you even used Spotify yet? I doubt it, since it's only been out for 2 days and you're already knocking it. Since I've been streaming music from my iPhone wirelessly over bluetooth in my car for several years, I can tell you that they're very different beasts, and that Spotify blows the doors off of Pandora. This is access to almost any songs you can think of anywhere as long as you have a connection. It's like having access to the entire iTunes library for $10 a month! You should be looking at Spotify as a complement to Pandora; you hear a song you like on Pandora and you have to buy it. WIth Spotify, you hear a song on Pandora you like, then go to Spotify and listen to it as much as you want. Get your facts straight before you begin making ignorant comments that mislead others.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @theblackporsche
          [blocked]
      f. rizzo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Roll your own? Thieves always find a way to justify their actions
        benzw124
        • 3 Years Ago
        @f. rizzo
        What makes you think that creating your own server to stream your own personally-bought music over your own internet connection means you're a thief? Did I miss something?
      Kasper
      • 3 Years Ago
      Here are a couple of invite codes: eTBZ9mWKzxkqfKGh cShFLDUAKTegrxFa dh5RwM6Mw4tRW7r2 dHJXwHNLxUhY6AV2 anRgwWy4YYSCbcgb
    • Load More Comments