Pandora looks to claim a bigger sliver of the in-car stream with Uber partnership

Pandora has announced a new partnership that sees the music-streaming company hitch a ride with Uber.

From this week, Pandora will be integrated directly within the Uber driver app, giving drivers the ability to manage their Pandora stations and rides in a single place.

“This deal represents just another way for listeners to tune into Pandora,” says Rick Gleve, Pandora’s business development director across Australia and New Zealand.  

“We are already a leader in auto and getting Pandora integrated directly within the Uber driver app shows that we are dedicated in creating the most seamless listening experience for everyone.”

The statement carries the real motivation behind this move.

The real battle in the music streaming market lies in the car, and it’s a space that online radio providers are desperately clamouring to occupy.

As things stand, in-car listening is still dominated by conventional radio, with Nielsen data showing that the percentage of people listening to conventional radio in the car has remained stable—in fact, increased slightly—since 2011.

By latching onto Uber, Pandora is looking to increase its slice of the in-car radio listening pie. And Bob Cowherd, the senior product manager for music and media at Uber (who would’ve thought the company even had such a person), sees it as a good fit for Uber as well.

“Many drivers already use music to get their day started on the right note, but it can be challenging to find high quality music that both drivers and riders love—without radio ads and interruptions to the music,” Cowherd says.

This touches on another important component of the deal, in that in-Uber streaming will not feature advertising—a particular annoyance when it comes to streaming services.

As things stand, the new deal will require riders to listen to the stations chosen by the driver. And given how diverse music tastes can be, this might lead to a few ‘please change the station’ requests along the way.

However, Pandora and Uber are already looking to evolve this partnership to the next stage by giving riders the ability to select a station when they book their rides.

As an interesting aside, the fight for the car isn’t limited to radio broadcasters and streaming companies.

Part of the reason why Google is so interested in developing the driverless car is because it will give the company control over the media that comes with it. And when combined with its already-powerful programmatic network across online channels, it isn’t difficult to see why Google is keen to have Android in the dashboard of every car

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