Gracenote’s New Car Audio Platform Looks To Unify Online And Offline Services

Once upon a time, you had just two choices on your car stereo: AM or FM. Over the years, however, car owners have become used to a wide variety of different inputs for listening to music while on the go. In addition to terrestrial radio, satellite radio has emerged, as well as the ability to connect to music on portable devices or stream it from music services like Pandora or Spotify in some connected car platforms.

But with the addition of new services, the ability to identify which song is playing through the automobile’s head unit hasn’t drastically improved over time. Moreover, each service has its own look and feel and users haven’t been able to save tracks or artists on one service and listen to them on another.

Gracenote is looking to change that with a platform for identifying music from different artists regardless of which service users are listening to in their cars. In doing so, Gracenote hopes to bridge the divide between online and offline services while giving users universal access to their favorite music across multiple listening options.

Of course, Gracenote has been providing car audio metadata solutions for a while now, enabling car stereo listeners to get detailed artist, song and album info delivered to their cars’ head units. It even provides album art and the ability to create playlists, providing those capabilities to 65 million cars sold.

Over time, however, just recognizing which track was playing on a CD wasn’t sufficient. Given the number of different audio choices available to consumers, Gracenote needed a way to connect and unify them. Its new offering does that, providing a common user interface for all those different services while also identifying the songs users are listening to.

By unifying those services under a common platform, Gracenote also enables a few new capabilities — like speech recognition when requesting a certain song or artist, or the ability to favorite songs that can then be played on different services. The platform also enables users to easily create and listen to playlists based on their favorite songs.

While Gracenote is showing off its new car audio platform now, adding new technology to automobiles isn’t done very quickly. As a result, the company is targeting the 2017 model year for adoption of its tech. Unfortunately in the meantime most services will continue to remain siloed and unable to interact with each other.