It’s a brave outfit that dives into the ultra-competitive music streaming game at this stage, but that’s exactly what Tesla is reportedly planning to do.
You read that right — Tesla, the automaker created by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, is in talks with music labels about a plan to bundle a streaming service with its electric cars, sources in the music industry told Recode a couple months ago. And now, it looks like that service is closer than ever to coming to fruition.
According to a new Electrek report, the most recent software update pushed to Tesla vehicles includes reference to a music service known as “TTunes.” If that name seems a bit silly, don’t worry — Musk himself confirmed on Twitter that that will not, in fact, be the name of the service.
Tesla does not really have "TTunes". That's a joke.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 26, 2017
While there’s still nothing present for drivers to actually try for themselves, this certainly looks to be a promising sign for those who are interested in a Tesla-specific audio channel. After all, in June, reports noted that Tesla was negotiating with record labels regarding streaming rights.
The apparent ambition may surprise many, though Musk didn’t get to where he is today by sitting on his hands and saying, “That’s just not possible.” Sources said they weren’t entirely sure about how far Tesla wants to go with its streaming plan, but claimed that the company is exploring the option of offering “multiple tiers of service, starting with a Pandora-like web radio offering.”
A Tesla spokesperson told Recode that the company “believes it’s important to have an exceptional in-car experience so our customers can listen to the music they want from whatever source they choose,” adding that its goal is “to simply achieve maximum happiness for our customers.”
Of course, for any streaming service launched by Tesla, the challenge would be getting its drivers to switch from competing services for which they’re already paying. Currently, Spotify has around 50 million paying subscribers, while Apple has some 27 million. A Tesla streaming option would have to offer something special to make it worthwhile, though perhaps the idea is part of a long-term vision involving broader entertainment-based subscription services for future vehicles that are entirely autonomous, leaving riders eager for amusement and diversion as they zip along from A to B. So let’s wait and see if Musk and his crew take this plan forward.
Update: A new software update for Tesla cars suggests that a music service is forthcoming.