Let’s Talk About the Future of Listening to Music in Cars

If you’re in the market for a new car, I’m pretty sure that you want all kinds of techno-goodies when it comes to the dashboard. Increasingly features like CarPlay or Android Auto are make-or-break decisions when it comes to purchasing a specific vehicle. Can you stream? Is the car a rolling WiFi hotspot? What’s the satnav system like? And what’s the quality of the audio system?

Let’s take a look at two possible innovations coming to a cockpit near you.

Telsa’s Streaming Idea

Elon Musk apparently as this notion of setting up a streaming service for Telsa owners. Music Industry Blog takes a look at this concept.

Reports have emerged that Tesla is looking to build its own streaming music service. In practice, this will most likely be a case of Tesla building a streaming service that operates solely for Tesla users, rather than competing head on with Apple and Spotify. However, being solely for the use of Tesla users does not necessarily mean solely for use within Teslas. Not only will Tesla need to focus on what a great in-car streaming experience looks like, it will need to build a multi-platform, multi-device proposition that competes with the best in class mobile experiences like Spotify’s. Tesla users will have little interest in having to use one streaming service in the car and one everywhere else, having to build 2 sets of playlists and cloud libraries etc. So, a Tesla streaming service will have to be good enough to be the only streaming service for its users. Not simply an in-car experience.

The heart of the strategy though will be delivering a high end, in-car music experience. This probably means that high definition audio is part of the mix and possibly some exclusive content such as artist-hosted shows and Tesla sessions.

Keep reading.

Speakerless Cars

It used to be a big deal for a car to have two speakers. Now even the cheapest vehicles have at least four with others have 12 or more plus a subwoofer. Now the technology exists so that cars may have zero speakers. From New Atlas:

If luxury car manufacturers are to be believed, more speaker hardware is the best way to deliver a quality in-car audio experience. But a concept from Continental suggests ditching speakers altogether, and instead creates sound by vibrating some parts of the car’s interior trim.

Continental likens the Ac2ated Sound concept to a string instrument. Rather than using a combination of tweeters, midrange speakers and subwoofers to deliver sound, the system relies on a set of compact actuators. They’re made up of a magnet and coil, and operate in a very similar way to the coil you’d find on a conventional speaker.

Rather than connecting the actuators to an oscillating membrane, Continental uses them to excite existing pieces of interior trim and, in turn, create sound. The company says a few different parts of the cabin are suited to different frequencies – the A-pillar lends itself to higher frequencies, door linings have good proportions for creating medium frequencies and bigger areas like the roof lining or parcel shelf could play the role of subwoofer.

Yeah, but how does it sound? I’d love to hear one of these vehicles. More 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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