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London - Sweep through the countryside and your in-car audio system selects a relaxing slice of ambient Brian Eno. Pound over a potholed dirt-track and the soundtrack changes to teeth-grinding drum 'n' bass.
“Connected cars” with intuitive digital audio systems which compose journey-specific playlists based on your route and personal tastes could help save the music industry after the collapse of high-street record stores, a new report predicts.
The Digital Music Nation 2013 survey, published by trade body BPI, forecasts a new wave of growth as next-generation audio systems, which link the car and the living room to new digital music services, replace revenues lost by the decline of CDs.
Paul Smernicki, director of digital at Universal Music UK, the company behind Rihanna and Jake Bugg, said: “The Holy Grail is how to give someone a completely seamless musical experience that just follows them around. I want to be able to tell my car where I'm going and for it to devise a playlist to last the journey based on my musical tastes. That's the future that will take people to a whole new digital immersion level”.
Companies like Echo Nest, a music intelligence platform which crawls through a database of 30 million songs to provide the data for digital recommendation services, are bringing intuitive playlists closer.
Mr Smernicki said: “The intuitive possibilities mean that you can get in your car and it can deliver exactly what you want to hear because it knows you so well. And late at night it could play more upbeat tracks to keep you alert”.
He explained: “When people are on the A3, the in-car system will be able to tell you what drivers on the road are listening to. You can factor in weather forecasts from the Met Office API key to create a complete personalised listening environment”.
The report identified developments which hint at the potential. In Europe, the streaming service Spotify linked with Seat in Spain last year to bundle subscriptions into its Ibiza cars. Spotify can also be installed directly into the AV receivers sold by the hi-fi companies Denon and Marantz.
Ford has also announced a US partnership with the streaming service Rhapsody, allowing Bluetooth-connected drivers to alter their musical selection using voice commands and steering wheel buttons.
DIFFICULT JOURNEYS PERFECT PLAYLISTS:
OJ Simpson's televised car chase
Sound of Da Police - KRS-One
F*** Tha Police - N.W.A. Crosstown Traffic - Jimi Hendrix
Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol
Caught By The Fuzz - Supergrass
Chris Huhne's drive home from Stansted on the M11 in 2003
Highway To Hell - AC/DC
I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That) - Meatloaf
Drive My Car - The Beatles (“Baby you can drive my car/And maybe I'll love you/ I got no car and it's breaking my heart/But I've found a driver and that's a start”)
You Really Got Me - The Kinks
Would I Lie To You? - Eurythmics
Peter Odemwingie - footballer's fruitless transfer deadline day drive from West Brom to QPR
London Calling - The Clash
Road to Nowhere - Talking Heads
Don't Come Around Here No More - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
All By Myself - Eric Carmen
Stuck in the Middle With You - Stealer's Wheel - The Independent