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Pandora Partners With Pioneer On Internet Radio For Cars

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Streaming music provider Pandora has struck a deal with electronics manufacturer Pioneer that will connect the internet radio service to users’ cars. The companies announced the deal at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The deal could represent a considerable threat to Sirius (NSDQ: SIRI) XM’s satellite radio service, which is offered by some automakers as a factory-installed option for newer models and accounts for a significant portion of the company’s revenues.

No money has changed hands between Pandora and Pioneer, a rep for the electronics company told the WSJ. Instead Pioneer will sell a device that will detect users’ Pandora settings on their Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) iPhones. The internet radio service claims about 42 million users, which could mean substantial revenue for Pioneer, even if just a fraction pay the $1,200 to buy the Pandora connection system.

Pioneer will start marketing the device in March. Pandora founder Tim Westergren believes that the Pioneer partnership will help change internet radio’s image from being “a computer thing” to being an “an anytime, anywhere thing.”

That could spell trouble for Sirius XM. The satellite radio provider has deals with over two dozen car makers, including Ford, Chrysler, and Mercedes-Benz, as well as rental companies like Hertz. Unlike Pandora’s free service, Sirius XM users pay $12.95 per month. The introduction of internet radio into cars could also be a further worry for some terrestrial stations, which are already trying to contend with the challenge of music recommenders like Pandora and

12 Responses to “Pandora Partners With Pioneer On Internet Radio For Cars”

  1. When I got my Iphone and realized I could do streaming radio with it and plug it into my car stereo system, I knew cars would eventually have internet radio as well. Then I thought “well so much for sirius.” As the 3g and 4g network get more area coverage across the United States, this will become big over the next 10 years. Then when on vacation you could actually listen to your favorite local station on the other side of the country since many stream their broadcast over the internet.

  2. lady3bglover

    Yelvington, a Pioneer BT applicable head unit and the iphone are not $1200. The Pioneer BT applicable head unit I have is less than $300 and the iPhone is $300, so where’s the $1200.

    I listen to Pandora from the iPhone through the Pioneer unit, and I haven’t had an issue as of yet… loving it!!

  3. michaelvoigt

    Or maybe just save the $1200 and aux in your iPhone to your stereo as if you were listening to your music from iTunes, but instead of “Music” push “Pandora.” As long as your iPhone is securely cradled and located near your stereo’s display or an even safer location, this is no more dangerous than using the tuner on your stereo. This is nothing even remotely close to texting while driving.

    I do not see the added features here besides a $1200 flag for your car that says “smash and grab.”

  4. johnmullinax

    Kudos to Pioneer – they’re trying to find a way to remain relevant. Unfortunately, I’m not sure this is quite it. The $1200 does get you a navigation system, so it’s not as bizarre as it first appears. But as noted above, Pandora has – for years – offered apps for multiple phones that let you listen through your factory installed radio. Sure, they don’t give you in-dash touch controls for Pandora like Pioneer does – but is that worth $1200 + the iPhone requirement? Doesn’t quite add up in my mind. Am happy to see Pioneer trying here, though – an exciting time for automotive computing.

    More on this announcement, as well as Pioneer’s play to be a device integration platform for your car, on my blog here:

  5. WOW ! imagine you can now listen to your favorite music over and over and over and over and over

    thats why there’s Sirius, its called content variety

    130 varieties

  6. beachmom

    Yelvington: the problem is if your wife wants to change stations which is the equivalent to text messaging (extremely dangerous). If it’s in the dash, one can keep their eye on the road.

  7. beachmom

    The issue is that it goes with an iPhone. This may be a shocker, but not all people want to own an iPhone or other smart phone. The bill to have one is about $100 a month. That is a lot more expensive than Sirius/XM. And as someone else alluded to, can AT & T handle the data if every other car is streaming Pandora? I doubt it. I think sat radio will be around for quite some time. And I say this as a big fan of Pandora. It’s more the platform (iPhone) that is the dealbreaker for me.

  8. yelvington

    This is truly bizarre. My wife routinely plugs her Blackberry into the car stereo and listens to Pandora. Where is the value added by $1200 of Pioneer hardware?

  9. Good luck getting talk radio, nfl, mlb, college football, special programming, and dozens of other siri content on that free pandora internet radio. Sure you say… pandora or other services will soon start streaming that content to. How long with they be able to offer their “free” service (which is far far from free) when they have to start paying for content. Enjoy that free internet radio, it won’t be around for long.

  10. 1200 for a radio that streams free radio? AT&T is already instituting bandwidth caps , it will be years before this tech takes off, if at all. This tech will have to be monetized at some point for it to flourish. The radio is free , but what about the ISP fees ? I pay $60 per month for my broadband @ home. I also pay for it on my iphone , Sirius/XM is still very competitive with their content and pricing. I don’t see this as a Satrad killer. If siri gave the equipment away for free or for a small monthly charge the game would already be over.