Scion’s Internet Radio Station, iPhone App


Toyota’s Scion brand is not a newcomer to advertising on Internet radio – in fact, they may have been one of the first national brands to buy into online radio back in 2005. Since then they’ve advanced their presence in several ways. Last year they launched their own branded multi-channel station, and now they’re releasing an app for iPhone and iTouch.

The new iPhone app –  ‘Scion Radio 17 BPM Meter’ – automatically calculates the BPM (beats per minute) of a song as users tap the screen to the song’s rhythm.  After recording the song’s BPM, users can create playlists by genre and send their song lists with corresponding BPM info to themselves and others.  

“Scion is always looking for ways to keep its customers engaged with the brand so we created the ‘Scion Radio 17 BPM Meter’ with unique create-and-share playlist abilities to appeal to our trendsetting and tech savvy audience of iPhone and iPod touch users,” said Jeri Yoshizu, Scion sales promotions manager. “Additionally, given the fact that Scion has always worked with DJs and respected their culture, we wanted to give our audience a useful tool for their craft.”

The app also features links and info about Scion Radio 17, the brand’s multi-channel Internet radio station, which targets a similar core audience. The station’s channels include HiJack Radio which focuses on British Underground HipHop and Reach – which is blue collar reality based rap without the “propaganda”, as well as other formats. Scion Radio 17 obviously has a deep understanding of its target audience. The site offers video clips, DJ Personality shows and interviews, merchandise and more. It’s a bold and gutsy marketing platform.

In both the newly launched iPhone app and the Internet radio station, Toyota has moved beyond the idea of selling its product by creating great looking ads. Instead, they’ve invested inbranded digital audio platforms that engage their audience directly. Rather than focusing on advertising to their customer, Toyota is focused on providing content that engages them. The result is an impressive marketing strategy.

Advertisers are looking for more than spots these days, they’re looking for ways to connect with their customers around content. Stations would do well to understand this and create better ways for advertisers to use their platforms to engage their customers. That’s the key to monetizing new media effectively.

— Jennifer Lane, President,, has a long career in Internet radio. Read her blog about the business of Internet radio and digital audio at .