Gracenote makes products that are used by in-car entertainment systems to identify and display CD titles, relevant metadata and cover art. This winter the tech company — which is now part of Nielsen — unveiled a new offering available to carmakers called Radio StationID.
This software uses “music fingerprint” recognition and a database of stations to provide drivers with station/song information and high-resolution station images. The company says it also can help motorists stay tuned to preferred genres.
MusicID Radio uses audio fingerprinting technology to
“This first-of-its-kind product eliminates the need for drivers to ‘scan the dial’ as they move outside of radio signal range, by automatically presenting the available stations most similar to their presets based on location and preferences,” said Brian Hamilton, Gracenote’s general manager of music and auto.
“As the driver goes in and out of radio signal range, the car’s infotainment system automatically tunes to local radio stations following preferred formats and genres. This enables a seamless and safe user experience in which the driver can always find the stations playing the music they’re in the mood to listen to, even in unfamiliar areas.”
I wanted to learn more so I emailed with Hamilton.
Radio World: This looks like an FM-only enhancement. Is AM not included?
Brian Hamilton: That’s actually not correct. Gracenote’s Radio StationID and MusicID Radio are comprehensive solutions covering global terrestrial broadcast for analog and digital AM, FM, HD and DAB sources. Using Gracenote Automatic Content Recognition technology, these solutions enable car infotainment systems to quickly and accurately identify what music is playing regardless of the broadcast source and deliver highly personalized experiences based on preferences, location and other parameters. Gracenote’s ACR technology uses audio fingerprinting to match music to our massive database so that relevant metadata such as artist and album name plus cover art for virtually any song can be displayed on the car infotainment screen.
Radio StationID enables drivers and passengers to navigate
RW: Is an FM subcarrier used to convey the Radio StationID data? Or is this an inaudible watermark technology similar to PPM encoding? Watermarks and fingerprints seem rather similar. … Will future PPM encoders include Radio StationID and the visual album art and logo features in one encoder?
Hamilton: We do not use a subcarrier to deliver metadata to the head unit. With Radio StationID and MusicID Radio, metadata is delivered via an internet connection. Customers can keep a local cache as well.