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Pandora and Rdio Are Fighting for Your Car Radio

For streaming music services, the car radio is important turf
Dashboards of the Internet age are much more crowded than those Sirius began conquering more than a decade ago.

Dashboards of the Internet age are much more crowded than those Sirius began conquering more than a decade ago.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Internet music companies are stoked about the trend toward connected cars, which is on full display at this year’s CES. Pandora, Spotify, and Rdio are really viable only if they can draw in large numbers of new users, and there are few places Americans are more inclined to listen to music than in their cars.

There’s even a role model to emulate: SiriusXM, which made itself central to drivers by embedding its service into the dashboards of their cars. That company now has about 27 million paid subscribers, far more than any Internet radio service, even if it's significantly more expensive.