Once upon a time you could know where to look to find the latest and greatest music. Today, it's become a menagerie of applications and one can find music, and other forms of entertainment (sports commentary, news, comedy, etc.), all over the internet as well as on traditional radio and satellite networks. You don't have to leave your home to search the world because of the internet. Pretty soon, even the most non-tech savvy will be able to own internet radio receivers in their cars due to an invention already on the market and available to those who own smart phones.
There are various ways to stream internet radio from your iPhone or Blackberry in the car. For instance, Belkin makes TuneBase FM which transmits the signal from your iPhone to your FM radio.
KVH Industries of Middletown, Rhode Island already has a system that provides TV and internet to RVs and boats. Its TracVision A5 antenna could be adapted and developed into a feasible receptor for standard road vehicles to receive streaming audio. Logitech Squeezebox Radio Music Player has one for $133 that is portable.
If you have a laptop, VideoHome USB Internet TV and Radio has a flash drive for only $12.99 that enables you to easily listen and watch thousands of stations and channels from around the world (categorized by country and program type). This is Windows 7 ready and available at Amazon.com. Many more are getting on the bandwagon, websites that make it easier to find various internet radio stations (and TV and cable shows too) to listen to.
You already know of the big ones: Xfinity, Pandora, and Sony Entertainment Network. These are all paid services, with the exception of Pandora. The internet stations of the world will be available on your internet radio receivers in cars including Last FM, Grooveshark and Reverbnation.
In May of last year, Liveo introduced the very first interface designed for use in a vehicle using a 3G or Wi-Fi connection streaming over 42,000 AM/FM and internet radio stations. Livio Car Internet Radio app is available on the iPhone and iPod touch and comes from Jake Sigal, the inventor of the USB turntable and the developer of XM car radio.
Stiticher.com is an internet radio receiver that is a visual dashboard of literally hundreds of podcasts that you can either hear portably on your phone or in your vehicle with a smart phone adapter or just on your tablet, desktop, laptop or Mac. Flikister is mainly news, talk and all sorts of topics, but also has music-oriented content.
Consumers in just a few short years have become more used to listening to music, news and other entertainment from the internet on many platforms. For the automotive industry that means things need to happen: a digital switchover to "DAB"-ready receivers. This is something European markets are now considering for auto manufacturers. Governments in Europe are pushing for DAB installation while the focus in the US is on considering a policy for FM radios on all mobile phones which would speed up the availability of purchase to the mass markets of HD radios. These are the strong signs we can see today that within a few short years the demand will push the internet radio in vehicles to become a reality in both the US and Europe.
Embrace the wave of the future. Change the way you listen, the way you advertise, the way you perceive your audience.
*About.com: Radio, How do YOU listen to internet radio in your car?
*The Future of Broadcasting and Internet Radio in the Car (SBD Reportlinker.com 8.16.11)