Audi chooses Apple Music over Spotify, Tidal, Amazon and Google
Audi puts Apple Music on the dashboard of cars sold in Europe, North America and Japan from model year 2022. Older Audi cars in these markets will also receive an Over-the-Air (OTA) update ) to enable Apple Music natively, which means that CarPlay and an iPhone will no longer be needed to stream music in Audi cars. But only if Apple Music is your streaming service of choice — Spotify, Tidal and other music streaming services won’t get this level of native support in Audis.
Audi said it’s okay with Apple as a music streaming partner because the tech giant provides a premium service, which apparently matches Audi’s own vision:
The integration of Apple Music into the audio infotainment system marks the next step in the collaboration between Audi and Apple […] For our customers, this means giving them direct access to their own personalized listening experience. It’s our understanding of a premium in-car digital experience. At Audi, we systematically drive vehicle digitalization and are convinced that the interior is increasingly becoming a third living space.
For now, let’s ignore that many drivers aren’t big fans of “vehicle scanning” – just another way of saying that car functionality will be software-bound (i.e. subscriptions). After all, Audi says its customers in Europe will be charged for cellular data used by native Apple Music software.
The pressing question these partnerships pose, I think, is why or how automakers choose which platform over others. Why does Tesla offer native support for Spotify? Why has he Toyotas and Lexus activate Spotify and Amazon at launch, but not Apple Music?
At first glance, it would seem that the service with the highest share of subscribers would make the most sense. Spotify has 158 million paid subscribers, according to The edge. Apple Music surpassed 78 million subscribers in January, while 9to5Mac reports. And while I always support Tidal, I won’t quote its subscription numbers because those are different depending on who you ask.
But, again, the question posed by Audi committing to Apple Music doesn’t have a satisfying answer based on the numbers. Unless Audi knows that the majority of its drivers use iPhones and are therefore more likely to subscribe to Apple Music than other services.
Or, if you take what Audi says at face value about a “premium in-car digital experience,” it’s hard to forget that Spotify hasn’t rolled out its lossless streaming level yet, which will cost more when it finally rolls out. Meanwhile, Apple has already rolled out its hi-fi level and won’t charge a subscriptionibers more to use it. Maybe that 16-speaker Bang and Olufsen audio system in the Audi e-tron GT is no exaggeration, after all.