Pandora inks deal to get into Toyota vehicles


Popular internet audio service Pandora, which allows subscribers to create their own customized internet “radio” stations, has made another stride into the automobile, where it would like to compete head-to-head with AM and FM broadcast radio stations, via a deal that will give it access to new Toyota cars.

Toyota offers its own vehicle media system called Entune, and Pandora will be come part of the Entune package. Entune will also offer HD Radio (adding to its Scion offshoot, which has offered HD Radio since 2008), which will include iTunes Tagging.

The first Toyota vehicles featuring Pandora will be announced later this year. The automaker previously announced it would integrate Clear Channel’s iheartradio mobile app into select 2011 models.

In a release, Pandora said, “Pandora internet radio will interface with the Toyota Entune technology, which is compatible with the majority of phones with a data plan, both smart and feature. The first Toyota vehicles featuring Pandora will be announced later this year.”

“Toyota’s Entune definitely makes listening to personalized radio an easy and intuitive part of the in-car experience,” said Pandora founder Tim Westergren.

SVP of Business Development Jessica Steel added, “Our automotive partnerships further ensure that Pandora is being heard in the most popular environment for radio listening: the car.  We’re very pleased to have Toyota as a key partner in this space where we aspire to make Pandora in cars as popular as Pandora on smartphones.”

RBR-TVBR observation: A great deal of internet access has been tied to wires and cables, but the FCC is doing everything it can to take it airborne, and the more ubiquitous that type of access becomes, the more in-vehicle competition radio is suddenly going to have in what has been its home turf for years. It means that broadcasters absolutely must strengthen their delivery of the things national services cannot deliver, and that means an emphasis on all things local.