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Music & Ridesharing: New Services Compete To Immerse Passengers
The ease and convenience of ridesharing in the gig economy puts a convenient ride just a few clicks away on your mobile device, and now new services plan to compete for your backseat attention while you're getting where you're going. Companies like Cargo and Steereo have big ideas on how you might like to spend your time while you're in a Lyft or Uber, and you might find yourself in the audience for immersive experiences in the back seat as the rideshare-focused music industry continues to grow.
On Nov. 6, Forbes explored the future of transportation and found growing investment in the trend to disrupt car rides from their traditional reliance on AM/FM radio. Capitol Music Group recently brought start-up Steereo within its gBETA Musictech Accelerator program and the service already has 13,000 rideshare drivers signed on in Austin, Texas and New York City. Emerging indie artists can sign up for its spotlight on new music, a service that has long existed for movie theaters. Artists can also advertise and access valuable analytics about backseat listening preferences.
"We're starting to think about how in-car media consumption might become a huge part of everyone's daily mindshare, especially with 5G coming," said Capitol Records' Ching-Ching Chen, director of business development. "That experience might not be limited to streaming, but can also involve more immersive content. We want to make sure we're the first company to start thinking about new artist experiences in 5G with the whole landscape shift ahead, and want to build a network of riders we can plug into for experimenting with new content forms."
Cargo's ambitions are more broad. They include music but aim to provide a full-featured shopping experience to rideshare passengers. Like Steereo, drivers are compensated based on passengers' use of the service. It includes items available at point-of-sale, so that the mobile app gives passengers access to vending-machine food and convenience selections as well.
"In five to ten years, cars will no longer be cars: they'll be mobile spaces on wheels that are configurable, and totally redesigned from the inside out," said Cargo Founder/CEO Jeff Cripe. "They'll also still be predicated on comfort, productivity and entertainment — the same three things people value the most in their cars today." Investors in his company's vision include music executives and Steve Aoki.
Driving a rideshare vehicle is one kind of "gig" for the driver but that already includes providing artists a chance to gig for passengers, with many kinds of payment. Self-driving cars will increase the availability of consumers during driving time. The audio-only experience of AM/FM could even give way to augmented reality and virtual reality.
One new thing about digital disruption is that wherever you go, there are marketers who tried to beat you there to sell you something. That includes new convenient features and it already includes new musical artists using evolving services targeted at ride passengers. This doesn't sound any more unlikely than accessibility of jukeboxes or convenience of Amazon.com must have seemed at first. Will you soon be choosing your ridesharing driver based on their entertainment system?