Motorola Inc. scored its first content agreement for its forthcoming iRadio service, a deal that will make Universal Music Group's extensive music catalog available to iRadio subscribers.
The news comes as Motorola quietly pushed back the release date for its iRadio service. iRadio was scheduled to be available in the fourth quarter this year, but Motorola has pushed the launch date to the first quarter of 2006.
Motorola's deal with Universal Music Group will add acts such as U2, Kanye West, Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow, Eminem, Shania Twain, The Game, The Killers, Mariah Carey and others to its iRadio service.
Motorola's iRadio service uses cell phones to link consumers' home PCs with their car stereos. With the new offering, users will be able to download streamed music, talk and "podcasts" from home computers to phones via USB cables, then play the audio through their car stereo systems with Bluetooth connections. The service will support a variety of music files, including MP3, AAC and WMA.
Consumers will be able to pause and resume music broadcasts and fast-forward and rewind other content through the decks in their instrument panels, which will need Bluetooth adapters. And the playback automatically will pause when a call comes into the phone.
While only Motorola phones will support the service at launch, other manufacturers' handsets could be equipped to work with iRadio. The service is expected to cost $5 to $7 a month -- about half the cost of a satellite radio subscription -- and iRadio phones will cost about $200. The instrument panel Bluetooth adapter adds another $65 or so to the bill.
The service also will include daily updates over cellular networks. Subscriptions will include the automated delivery of time-sensitive information such as traffic updates, breaking news and sports, requiring users to buy data service packages from their carriers. Content will include such data as song title, artist and label that will be displayed on a stereo face, potentially allowing users to purchase songs and CDs over the network.
Motorola, of Schaumburg, Ill., ranks No. 49 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers with estimated worldwide original-equipment automotive parts sales of $2.69 billion in 2004.