Friday, April 01, 2011

Audio Everywhere ?

The recent addition of audio support for building radio stations to the VidZapper platform had me re-looking at the radio and audio business again.

I rarely listen to radio outside the car, where the constant need to retune and the inability to find anything by genre of service is seriously annoying. The inability of the car industry to adopt DAB is truly frustrating, but DAB itself is a technology that has gone backwards, especially compared to the more recent rollout of digital television.

A new service called Radioplayer has aggregated all the UK radio stations in one service. Now, I've long used TuneIn Radio on my iPad/iPhones to listen to my favourite radio station, KFOG, but the vast majority of my audio listening now happens from Spotify (and, yes, our household has two subscriptions).

But all of these services are inaccessible in the car. This, perhaps, was the reason digital satellite radio was so popular in the US when services such as Sirius and XM originally launched.

Forget 0 - 60 times, forget fuel economy, forget the styling and other toys - the first thing I'll be looking for when I look to spend my next several tens of thousands of pounds will be the ability to access my favourite audio services and tracks.

A former colleague who was deeply involved in the car industry explained that the reason car audio technology always lagged was the long development cycle for cars, but it does seem that there's scope for the audio and car industries to address this situation and provide the listener with the kind of portability that the TV industry is focusing on.