If there was a league table of ‘notable brand partnerships in Sweden’, a deal between Spotify and Volvo would come pretty near the top.

But yesterday’s partnership reflects the wider trend in the digital music market as streaming firms scramble to get their services into cars – not to mention the big smartphone platform-owners.

Volvo’s deal with Spotify isn’t so different from the latter company’s partnership with Ford, announced last month at Mobile World Congress.

Spotify will now be integrated into Volvo’s Sense Connected Touch dashboard, with voice-activated controls and the ability to stream music via a smartphone or from a plug-in 3G or 4G dongle. Yet this isn’t just a Spotify thing: Deezer also announced yesterday that it’s a partner for Sensus Connected Touch, which is being run for Volvo by Parrot.

But back to those smartphone platform-owners. AppleInsider notes that Apple is currently recruiting for a number of new roles related to in-car integration of its iOS devices, including testing compatibility, but also working on “Car Services” application and framework development. This comes on the back of Apple’s Siri Eyes Free initiative to get its Siri voice recognition tech into cars.

Connected cars were recently hailed by the BPI as a big trend for digital music growth: it predicted 50m vehicles with 4G or Wi-Fi equipped audio systems to be sold every year by 2017.

But will the key to success be direct partnerships with the likes of Ford and Volvo, or simple reliance on Apple and Google to do the necessary integration work to help any music app run smoothly in automobiles?

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