Auto Tech

Gracenote creates one music interface to rule them all

Gracenote announced a new feature for its automotive platform that will let automakers set a common interface for music coming from any audio source.

Gracenote
Gracenote Entourage
Gracenote released this image of what a common interface for radio, Internet streaming and onboard music might look like. Gracenote

Switching from FM radio to Bluetooth streaming to Pandora in your car can lead to cognitive dissonance as the display for each source changes, offering differing information on the current track playing and often a completely different look on the screen. Gracenote, which supplies audio recognition software to automakers and equipment suppliers, has a fix for that.

The company announced a new feature for its Entourage product, which currently lives in the head units of many cars, that identifies the current track playing, no matter the source, and provides artist, album, song name and even album cover art. This new identification feature relies on a data connection, using Gracenote's software to 'fingerprint' the current song, query the company's database, and return the song data.

Automakers can use this song look-up to show you complete track information with a common interface.

In a phone conversation with CNET, Gracenote Chief Strategy Officer Ty Roberts said automakers could include a "love" button in the interface, and cars could store the Gracenote IDs of drivers' favorite tracks. That favorite list could be the basis for playlists, with music drawn from on-demand sources.

Roberts also pointed out that Gracenote includes extensive mood information in its music database, potentially allowing automakers to give drivers smart playlists.

Gracenote has released the new features to automakers and is currently working with its customers on development. However, the look and feel of this new feature will ultimately be in the hands of the automakers. Gracenote expects that the first implementations will be in 2017 model year cars.