I’ve finally done it. After years of using cassette adapters and FM transmitters I’ve installed a direct-connect iPod interface in my car. I’ll have a full review of the interface, Vais Technology’s $300 SoundLinQ SLI, after I’ve lived with it for awhile.
What I’d like to muse about today is the conversation I had with the owner of the shop that installed the interface—a nice guy who’s been in the car stereo business for about 20 years.
The SoundLinQ SLI is brand new and the guys in the shop had never seen one. Asking how I’d come across it I mentioned what I do for a living and that the unit was for review. Because I’m a professional nosy parker I used this as an opening to ask how this whole iPod-in-a-car thing was affecting their business.
“It’s changed everything,” the owner said. “This entire wall,” he said pointing to a prominent display at the front of the store, “is iPod stuff.”
“Used to be that my business was about sound. The majority of it is now about connectivity—how to help customers get the music they normally carry in their pockets into their cars.”
We talk about the changes wrought by the iPod and iTunes—the death of the album and birth of the playlist, the advent of online music sales, and the lessening of radio’s influence—but this experience helps underscore an even more fundamental shift in the way we consume media.
In the past we brought the music—in the form of LPs, tapes, and discs—to our players. Today, the player is the transportable object and we seek ways to plug that object into the electronic noise makers we surround ourselves with.
Talk to those people responsible for making, marketing, and selling those noise makers and they’ll tell you that it’s all about the dock.
Connectivity is king.