We received news today from Napster/Rhapsody that BMW is bringing the global on-demand audio service into its cars in eight European countries. The service brags of 60-million tracks and 20,000 audiobooks. The service will appear in cars as BMW Music.
One interesting aspect of this is the apparent ease-of-use in getting and using the service. “No setup, login or extra devices are required,” according to the press release. This is part of Napster’s white-label B2B business, which the company is building out globally.
That said, it is not free. BMW drivers will pay 89 Euros for a year, after a 3-month trial when purchasing a new car.
“Quality and performance are values that Napster and BMW share. We knew just another music service wouldn’t be enough because BMW customers demand a premium, differentiated experience,” said Bill Patrizio, President and CEO of Rhapsody International. “This teamwork with BMW’s product division in Munich, Germany showcases what is possible with connected car entertainment by integrating streaming music and audio into the driving experience in a very contextual way.”
One benefit of this level of integration integration a more seamless experience than some Android Auto and Apple CarPlay experiences, which are functional but not without hassles depending on variability of phone, operating system, and car equipment. This service works with BMW Operating System 7.0 — yes, the car has an operating system, which tells us something about BMW’s approach to digital in-car services.
What about data use? Napster’s PR claims that the driver’s personal data plan is not touched by this service. Here is the official list of benefits:
● Direct access to the largest audio catalogue in the world, with more than 60 million songs and 20,000 audiobooks.
● Direct streaming via the built-in SIM card at no additional cost, without having to use your smartphone.
● The service does not consume any of the customer’s personal data allowance.
● Identify songs heard on the radio and add it to your favorites.
● Drivers can keep their eyes on the road by using simple hand gestures or voice to navigate their listening selection.
● No time-consuming registration, no login and no extra device required.
● BMW customers can sign up for a free three (3) month trial of BMW Music when purchasing a new car.
● The price for a full year of BMW Music service is 89 Euros.
“With over a billion potential customers worldwide for music streaming subscriptions, we can expect to see a variety of innovative models to serve different listener segments, different geographies and different delivery methods,” said Russ Crupnick, Managing Partner of MusicWatch. “Powered by Napster offers a ready-made solution from a company with the technology and pedigree to satisfy veteran music streamers and onboard new listeners.”