Chevrolet is in its fifth year as a "Super Sponsor" at SXSW in Austin, Tex., and is using its presence there to make several announcements. The sponsorship relationship gives Chevy category exclusivity, although in the past other automakers have had a presence there.
Last year, the focus was on the Volt electric car and Cruze (TK). This year at least some of what Chevrolet is doing at South by Southwest focuses on in-vehicle entertainment with its new Chevrolet AppShop, which it launched in collaboration with AT&T, which is the backbone for its in-vehicle 4G LTE service.
The company says it is beefing up with a deal with Beats Music. The Santa Monica, Calif.-based streaming music service is collaboration of Interscope/Geffen/A&M chairman and CEO of Beats Electronics Jimmy Iovine, Beats Electronics co-founder Dr. Dre, and Beats Electronics President Luke Wood, and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. The service will be an app in the Chevrolet AppShop, to be available in certain Chevrolet vehicles later this year. The streaming-music service, which started this year, uses curated genre-based playlists from music experts. Chevy says the service includes a "Just For You" personalized recommendations and the Highlights staff recommendations. A trial or paid Beats Music account will be required, per the automaker.
“It’s all about giving our customers options to be connected in their vehicle,” said Cristi Landy, Chevrolet marketing director, in a statement. “We realize there’s not a one-size-fits-all option for everybody. So, we’re focused on giving people ability to choose their preferred music service while also opening their eyes to new services they may not have tried before.”
Chevrolet, which will begin rolling out the 4G LTE high-speed connection service this summer, is letting SXSW attendees try it out at the Austin Convention Center during SXSW. Chevrolet and parent General Motors are also doing a roster of presentations and panels at a "Chevrolet Tweet House" venue and will have a branded ("Find New Roads") lounge at the convention center. And as it has in the past, Chevy will have fleets of "Catch a Chevy" cars to tote attendees around the city. This year the vehicles will be Impalas and Volts wherein passengers can try the Chevrolet MyLink features. Chevrolet will also have Cruze Diesel, Spark EV and the 2015 Tahoe on hand.
As at CES, automakers have used SXSW to talk about social media, car connectivity and anything that appeals to Millennial intelligentsia. Last year, Ford's futurist-in-residence Sheryl Connelly presented on trends and global trends, and how Ford uses futurist research. Toyota had a presence there last year and Web site to spotlight its Yaris car. Chrysler had street teams and a lineup of its cars across its brands. Volkswagen last year used SXSW to announce its "Smileage" social driving app with Google under Google’s Art, Copy & Code program.