SXSW Interactive: MOG to stream in car

Seth_priebatschMOG has indeed announced that it will be the first music-streaming service in a car, and it demonstrated the technology at the SXSW Interactive Festival.

But first . . . 

I know what you're thinking . . . 

Who is that guy at left?

That's Seth Priebatsch, founder and CEO (or, as he calls himself, the "chief ninja") of SCVNGR, the social-gaming platform for smartphones. And that's exactly how he looked, complete with red glasses perched atop his head, as he gave the "opening remarks" at the Interactive Festival - in effect, the Interactive keynote speech.

Smart guy, this 22-year-old who dropped out of Princeton University after 1 year, and he had some interesting things to say. His primary thesis: "The last decade was the decade of social. The next decade is the decade of games."

Not that he means we'll all be playing Red Dead Redemption (or SCVNGR games, for that matter) throughout the next 10 years. Rather, he means that, whereas Facebook represents The Social Layer, we will now see The Game Layer (or "game mechanics") being used to help fix/solve/address five large issues: education, customer acquisition, loyalty, location-based servers moving into the mainstream, and . . . global warming! Whew!

Interesting, indeed, if a bit beyond the subject matter that S+V readers are accustomed to seeing on this site and in our print magazine.

Another speaker, game designer/researcher Jane McGonigal, gave a talk that was basically a big plug for her book of the same name - Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World.

Why do games make us better? Because they make us better at life, McGonigal said. How can they change the world? By, for one thing, helping to turn kids into young adults who are likely to be more confident in the workplace and more cooperative with everyone. And she attempted to demonstrate all this by having the huge roomful of SXSW attendees engage in a massive, interlinked thumb-wrestling match. Hmmm!

A panel discussion on Music Plus Devices: What Works? was held during the Music Festival but, obviously, it had Interactive implications and was thus considered a "Convergence" panel. Representatives from the likes of Toshiba and Sonos talked about the Connected House and the challenges of making all devices work together happily. But the panel was best summed up by this comment from moderator Vickie Nauman of 7digital: "People should buy music once and then be able to access it from everything."

Or, as MOG would have it, people who subscribe to a music-streaming service should be able to access that music not just from a smartphone or a computer but also in the car - as well as via home-theater components. Which brings us back to MOG at SXSW . . .


The image you see here is the dash of a BMW MINI, the first car to feature MOG. The streaming service will be incorporated into the car's pre-existing MINI Connected technology, said to provide easy and safe navigation for the driver.

For a streaming service like MOG, "the car is the holy grail," as David Hyman posited in his presentation at SXSW Interactive. Hyman is the founder (or, as his business card calls him, El Conquistador) of MOG, and he's proud that his subscription service of 10 million songs will now be accessible on the road.

Inside the car, you log onto MOG via your smartphone and then put the phone away. All music access is via the one-button control that operates the dash.

But Hyman wants MOG in your home theater, too, and so he has partnered with LG, Samsung, and Vizio to incorporate the service into HDTVs and Blu-ray players. Sonos, too, will add MOG to the entertainment lineup in its wireless distribution systems.

- Ken Richardson