Hit online radio app Pandora continues its march into non-traditional devices with the announcement that the service will appear in select Mercedes-Benz models.
Pandora is also coming to some GM model vehicles after experiencing explosive growth on the iPhone. The Pandora mobile app has led to some Pandora 40 million accounts and now constitutes the majority of traffic to the site.
Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy made the announcement Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 5) during the heated “On The Horizon” panel of the Music App Summit, part of Billboard’s Mobile Entertainment Live! proceedings in San Francisco.
Charlie Kindel, a GM at Windows, said the nascent world of apps has hit their “Terrible Twos.” Kindel said apps would play a small role in the “Music” hub of integrated Windows hardware and software across devices. The company is working on a seamless music playback for consumers who come home with their mobile phone and turn on their Xbox 360.
Konny Zsigo, president of the Wireless Developer Agency said HTML5 is emerging as an app killer, because new features of the language emulate most of the functionality of apps. “They’re making a big run at it with this spec called HTML5. It might happen.”
HTML5 could tip the scales away from the app environment in as little as a year, Zsigo said, a speculation that elicited laughs from the audience of technology and music industry executives and press.
Zsigo also said mobile phone carriers are getting ready to sell ads directly to big brands by leveraging the personal subscriber information like demographics and location. Collecting massive amounts of user data, packaging it and selling it to advertisers has emerged as a key goal of app makers.
Dev Khare, VP of Venrock dismissed the entire music app space as unworthy of venture capital due to licensing issues. “Frankly, I don’t see an opportunity in mobile music, necessarily,” he said. “We invest in early-stage startups. From our point of view, rights holders haven’t left enough money on the table for startups to make a go of it.” Venrock focuses on investing in the technology used by app makers. “We’re selling arms to the people doing the fighting.”
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