South by Southwest is the intersection of music, tech, and entertainment — and so is Chevrolet's 2015 lineup. Chevy sent me to Austin, TX, to test-drive its big announcement out of SXSW 2014: Beats Music in the Chevrolet AppShop, powered by high-speed, 4G LTE connectivity in the vehicle.
Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine's Beats Music service launched just a few months ago but is already getting a leg up on the competition with a new app made specifically for in-car use. The Chevrolet AppShop will ship with 2015 models in US and Canada as early as this Summer.
A trial or paid subscription ($10 a month for three devices) is required. Beats' service is a little different than Spotify or Rdio in that it emphasizes personalized music curation. Its most distinctive feature is "The Sentence," with which users can express their mood and access Beats' computer and human-generated recommendations. For example, I'm "on a boat" and feel like "going back in time" with "my family" to "vintage soul and funk" would yield Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely." The Beats Chevy app has been reformatted to fit within the constraints of the Chevy infotainment system and work with the vehicle's controls.
Data connection and 4G LTE capability through the OnStar system enable the streaming. There is also the option to turn your mobile device into a hotspot and power the infotainment system with a brought-in connection. This connectivity is just one indication that the future of auto means high speeds on the road and on the web.