BMW and MINI adding Stitcher

Why pay for Sirius when BMW offers free radio app

BMW announced today that the company is in cooperation with Stitcher to enable the Sticher Smart Radio App to operate in BMW and MINI vehicles.

The BMW Apps and MINI Connected technologies will enable drivers to access Stitchers streaming entertainment. The BMW iDrive system will allow easy operation of Stitcher content. Stitcher is a streaming entertainment service that provides talk radio, sports radio, comedy, and financial news. Much of this content either overlaps or is in competition with traditional satellite radio. For many years BMW was a Sirius provider in its new automobiles.

Will new mobile apps begin to take more and more market share from subscription based satellite radio? One notable option for Stitcher users is the ability to create custom stations suited to their own individual tastes. Something Pandora users often do. The system also offers users the ability to view high quality album art much like an iPod does when configured in many mobile audio systems. These are features not typically associated with satellite radio.

Many automotive sound enthusiast lament is the trend away from DIN and 2 DIN standard slots in the dashboards of cars that allowed them to easily upgrade and change systems. As auto makers sought the profit and from selling their own systems and the ability to differentiate their brand from other makers the “stereo” slots began to become custom and more highly integrated into the dash. GPS popularity took this trend to completion. As most drivers know, a good portable GPS system can be had for under $200.00 but automakers commonly add well over $1000.00 to their sticker prices for comparable GPS equipment. Perhaps this shift to apps based infotainment will bring back balance to the marketplace and allow users to again customize their rigs the way they see fit and at costs in line with the product’s capabilities.

The step by BMW and MINI to integrate Stitcher and future apps based offerings could have serious consequences for the satellite radio market.

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