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Gracenote Creates Multimedia In-Car Control Software

Entourage to connect AM/FM, online music sources; aims for 2017 model year availability

Tribune Media subsidiary Gracenote wants to link traditional radio and online radio easier in automaker’s infotainment systems.

Readers may know Gracenote as the company behind the images and other metadata displayed on HD Radio receivers featuring Artist Experience, in which the audio is synchronized with images.

Now Gracenote says it has developed a way to unify various music sources — including AM/FM, CDs, satellite and streaming radio onto one, unified center-stack display, making for what the Emeryville, Calif.-based company says is a safer listening experience.

“The arrival of the connected car is pushing the automotive industry to think about the musical journey in a very different way,” says Gracenote Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder Ty Roberts. He characterizes Gracenote’s Entourage Radio as bridge software, or “an intelligent layer that helps identify what songs are being played and the source.”

Gracenote Entourage uses underlying technology that enables audio fingerprinting of songs for real-time music recognition. Being able to identify the audio source in real-time also helps Gracenote provide the correct song, artist and album information, deliver relevant cover art and station logos to the automotive display. Once a song is recognized, listeners can command through the car’s head unit to play songs that are similar in genre, mood and era, play additional songs from the specific artist or add to an existing playlist within their favorite streaming music service.

Gracenote technology is in 65 million cars now as part of automotive platforms like Ford Sync, Chevy MyLink, Toyota Entune and Hyundai BlueLink. The company says the new Entourage technology will be available for 2017 model year cars.