Elon Musk is quite the ambitious fellow. In addition to spearheading things like recreational space travel and, here on Earth, self-driving vehicle technology, it is being reported that Musk is exploring the streaming music business through Tesla, the electric vehicle company he co-founded and is still very much a part of. On the surface it seems like an odd pairing, but perhaps this could turn into a brilliant play.
More on that in a moment, but first let's talk about the report. Citing unnamed "music industry sources," Recode claims Tesla has been in discussions with every single major music label about licensing a proprietary streaming music service that the automaker would bundle with its cars. Since vehicles like the Model S already feature high-tech dashboards with Internet connectivity, adding its own streaming service would be a seamless thing to integrate.
Of course, this begs the question of why Tesla would want to do this when the streaming the music business is already fairly crowded.
"We believe it’s important to have an exceptional in-car experience so our customers can listen to the music they want from whatever source they choose," a Tesla spokesperson said. "Our goal is to simply achieve maximum happiness for our customers."
So there you have it, this all about delivering "maximum happiness." Going against that would be like going against Patch Adams, the do-good doctor once brilliantly portrayed by the late Robin Williams and who was once accused of "excessive happiness."
It is also about making money. Tesla interest the streaming music business is not as kooky as it might seem. Think about the numbers—Tesla shipped 100,000 cars to customers in January and is in the process of fulfilling 400,000 pre-orders for its forthcoming Model 3 due out this summer. Tesla's customer base is only going to grow over time, and if the automaker can extract an additional revenue stream from buyers, then why not do it?
Obviously Tesla is facing some stiff competition with the likes of Apple and Spotify. However, Tesla could bundle a music subscription into an entertainment package where the cost would be largely hidden by whatever else is included. If you're shelling out $35,000 for a vehicle to begin with, what's another $120 for a yearlong subscription (assuming its service is priced in line with the competition)?
Another route Tesla could take is bundling a music subscription with charging package. Back at the beginning, Tesla offered customers free use of its Super Chargers before implementing a per-minute charging fee earlier this year. Bundling the two together would be another way of enticing customers to jump on board.
Whatever Tesla's plan might be, it's interesting to see it flirting with Electric Avenue.
Thumbnail Image Source: Flickr (Steve Jurvetson)