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RAIN 7/27: Internet radio "most popular" app being brought into cars by automakers, say analysts

Posted on: 07/27/2010


New analysis from Frost & Sullivan pins Internet radio as the “most popular” application being developed by automakers, though the report doesn’t specify the data the researchers use. They expect that the “hybrid connected model” — that is, cars that connect to the Internet through smartphones — will have a market size of 5 million units by 2015 in just North America. That market size will only grow as the target market — Gen Y — continues to increase.

“Hybrid connected telematics models like the Ford Sync offers huge potential to bring smartphones into the cabin of the car,” said Frost & Sullivan.

Of course every car is capable of becoming a “hybrid connected model.” All you need is a smartphone and a connection to your car stereo (a cassette adapter, FM transmitter, and so on). The point is that new systems, like the Ford Sync update, make it easier and safer for the masses to use Internet radio.

Safety is one of the two major challenges to in-car Internet radio, according to Frost & Sullivan — nobody wants drivers distracted by trying to rate Pandora songs. The other is the method of connectivity. Cellular providers want carmakers to build data connectivity directly in to the car. But automakers prefer letting consumers bring their own data connection, usually in the form of a mobile device. Find much more on these issues in Frost & Sullivan’s press release here.


Live365 has unveiled a newly redesigned site. The biggest update is the radio player itself, which stays fixed on the left side of the page no matter where you go on the site. That makes it easy to browse the site while still listening to stations. The inclusion of album art, recommended stations and other features within the new player are welcome additions as well.

Live365’s station directory has been updated as well with multiple ways to view the listings. With over 7000 broadcasters now using Live365, organizing all those streams is essential. Live365 has also added social media integrations and lots of other updates. Check out the new site here and find their press release here.


According to Clear Channel, their mobile applications have been downloaded 8 million times and the average user spends 3.5 hours a week listening to stations. On average, users visit 4 stations a week.

Mobile and online listening increase Clear Channel stations’ overall audience by an average of 15%, according to EVP/president of online music and radio Evan Harrison.

“All of that adds up to profitability for the media conglomerate’s mobile business,” observes PaidContent (here), “demonstrating that for at least some, the medium has started to push past the experimental phase.”

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