Audio-On-Demand Gets Some Major Funding

Last week, Command Audio announced $56 million in new funding from several media, technology, and venture capital companies for its audio-on-demand service. The company says that the new funding will help fuel the rollout of their entertainment and information service to major US markets in the coming year.

Led by Canaan Partners, the round of funds also includes Chase Capital Partners, Motorola, Vulcan Ventures, TI Ventures, Macrovision, St. Paul Venture Capital, and Franklin Resources. Command Audio's Don Bogue says that "The involvement of investors of this caliber is a significant endorsement of the huge market potential of mobile on-demand information and entertainment. . . . We are poised to deliver an extraordinary experience to millions of listeners around the country."

The company, which so far is test-marketing in Denver and Phoenix, aims to wirelessly transmit hundreds of audio programs each day from a variety of broadcast sources, "putting mobile listeners in control of the entertainment programming they choose, on their schedules." Handheld receivers manufactured by Thomson Consumer Electronics and marketed under the RCA brand are currently being used in the tests; Command Audio expects the technology to be available nationwide in 2001.

Earlier this month, Motorola and Command Audio announced their intention to integrate the Command Audio service with Motorola's new iRadio in-vehicle platform. Motorola says it hopes to begin offering these systems to major automobile manufacturers next year, with the idea of further extending the reach of the Command Audio service.