Toyota will integrate Clear Channel’s iheartradio mobile app into select models starting next year. This is the first key partnership that Clear Channel – or any radio broadcast company – has won to put their online platform into new cars.
Earlier this year Ford announced that they would integrate Pandora into cars. Pandora has been persistently successful in developing partnerships that extend the reach of their brand beyond the pc. Cars are the next big frontier for Internet radio stations in terms of extending their reach.
iheartradio will allow Toyota customers to access more than 750 of America’s favorite local radio stations, as well as unique celebrity-hosted channels from Christina Aguilera, Eagles, and Weezer, local traffic reports and more.
It’s a nice win for Clear Channel, but I think it’s also a win for Internet radio overall. Sure, Clear Channel’s developers will work hard to integrate this platform with Toyota and vice versa, but inevitably consumers are going to want to listen to whatever they want in their car, and not be held up by technology or devices dedicated to a certain platform. I think companies like Clear Channel and Pandora understand this, and are driven not by the idea of exclusive audience opportunities. They’re taking leadership positions in making sure Internet radio gets into cars because they understand that it’s important for the industry that they’re heavily invested in. A good thing for them, and everyone else as well.