Digital Paradise By the Dashboard Light: Mog in action on the dashboard of a BMW. (Photo: Andrew Hampp)
Fresh from the debut of a new free service on Sept. 15 and its co-starring role at Facebook's F8 Conference in San Francisco last month, on-demand music service Mog is hitting the road. BMW is teaming up with the 5-year-old Mog as the latest in a limited lineup of in-car apps that sync with BMW and Mini vehicles' Connected technology, set to roll out later this month.
Earlier this year, BMW tapped Pandora to become the first third-party service in its vehicles, available at a cost of $250 for all 2011 and 2012 models. Mog is now the second music app available to BMW customers.
"Mog really serves a great use case both for when you want to listen to certain music and to discover new music," said Robert Passaro, senior engineering project manager for BMW of North America, in a demo with Billboard.biz outside BMW Guggenheim Labs on Manhattan's Lower East Side.
BMW's entry into the increasingly crowded in-car media marketplace is notable in that it relies on a USB connection to a driver's existing iPhone rather than pre-installed apps on a dashboard. "We recognize that smart-phone services do things better than we could. Google is best in search, Mog is the best for music on-demand, so there's great companies out there leveraging new music technologies that we want to work with," Passaro says.
The integration is the latest in a series of distribution bumps for Mog, following the slight uptick it saw after F8 on Sept. 22. Currently, the service has a catalog of about 12 million songs and over 1 million albums across online, mobile and streaming devices. But J.D. Power & Associates has yet to specifically measure whether these new in-car apps can help BMW sell more cars.
"These features speak highly to BMW customers or potential customers," says Ethan Forchette, who works in advanced technology planning and strategy at BMW. "The premium auto segment is pretty competitive right now, but this integration of technology on top of our features could definitely tip the scale."
BMW and MOG celebrated the new partnership later Tuesday night with a private concert for BMW dealers and employees at BMW Guggenheim Labs at First Park. Norah Jones and her country side project The Little Willies played a 45-minute-plus set full of originals and covers (Dolly Parton's "Jolene," Leiber & Stoller's "Love Me") culled from their self-titled 2006 debut and forthcoming 2012 set, "For The Good Times."