Could This Be the Future of the Car Radio?

There has been plenty of talk about the Connected Car and what form in-dash infotainment systems will take over the coming years. Apple, Android, QNX and a host of other companies are fighting for space in your next car. We can now add Gracenote to that list.

Back in the CD dates, Gracenote was that database your computer queried every time you shoved a CD into your CD-ROM drive. By comparing the number of tracks on the CD along with the disc’s overall running time, Gracenote would search its database, find a match and the populate all the fields in your CD ripper (artist, title, time and so on.)

Now, though Gracenote does much, much more.  It’s a giant Big Data machine for the music industry–and it would really like to help you on your future commutes.  How? With a new technology called Entourage.  From GigaOm:

Gracenote has long been present in our cars. Its music recognition technology is used to recognize CDs inserted into the dashboard, interpret voice prompts for particular artists and songs in newer infotainment systems and the supply the album art and track metadata for any number of automotive music streaming apps.

But Gracenote has bigger ambitions in the car. It wants to use its audio-fingerprinting technology to become a kind of meta-car radio, that can negotiate between all of the music sources in your car, whether they’re coming from satellite or FM airwaves or streamed in from a smartphone or embedded 4G connection.

Gracenote on Thursday called the technology Entourage and it’s essentially a software client that sits in the dashboard and listens to everything that comes out of your car’s speakers. By recognizing all of the songs that are played in the car it can use that information to trigger other types of music sessions. For instance, if you hear a U2 song the radio, you could tell your car’s command and control system to create a radio station based on that track in Pandora, or you could search your cloud music or smartphone’s local library for other U2 songs, Gracenote chief strategy officer and co-founder Ty Roberts told me.

Wow.  Cool!  But it’s yet another shot at traditional AM/FM broadcasters. We’re going to have to pay attention to this very closely.  Read the rest of the article here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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