PassAlong Networks has debuted a music download service for MP3Car.com, which markets the in-dash StreetDeck mobile electronics package.

By partnering with MP3Car / Street Deck and Internet music identifier Gracenote, PassAlong has developed a service giving car passengers the ability to purchase and download MP3s as easily as if they were sitting at their home computers.

If the mental image of drivers downloading tunes while changing lanes disturbs you, don’t worry. So far, PassAlong Networks’ description only mentions passengers, not drivers. So far, there’s been no research into how distracting downloading songs while driving can be, but chances are it’s probably safer than yacking on a cell phone while cruising the interstate.

“Most consumers spend a lot of time in their cars, therefore making it an essential part of the digital media ecosystem, said Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin. “Consumers frequently discover new music in their cars and with this technology they will be able to bookmark it for later or download it on the spot.”

Hmmm . . . People flocked to download cell phone ringtones. Could we be looking at a car horn / honk tone download market in the near future?

Pandora’s Phone

One of the hurdles facing Internet radio services is inherent with the industry itself, mainly that listeners must maintain a Net connection to tune in. Of course, one could connect with Internet music streamers via WiFi, but Internet radio has yet to reach the portability equivalent of terrestrial radio.

But that’s not an impossible hurdle, as evidenced by Pandora’s new deal with Sprint which gives Sprint’s users access to Pandora’s multichannel custom programming via specific cell phones.

Pandora’s Sprint debut comes with all the bells and whistles that have made Pandora one of the most listened-to Internet radio services. When a user enters a song or artist, Pandora builds a customized station based upon those choices. To accomplish this, Pandora employs the Music Genome Project, a highly developed database where individual songs are analyzed by musicians and compared with more than 100 musical qualities.

Pandora is available on five Sprint Power Vision phones – the FUSIC by LG, Samsung’s A900 and A920 and Sanyo’s 7500 and 8400. Sprint says Pandora will be on all of its Power Vision phones by the end of June. Cost is $2.99 per month on top of Sprint’s Power Vision charges.

“Pandora is like that one friend who everyone wants to have – someone who really knows and loves music and who can recommend a long list of bands and songs after you mention what you’ve been listening to lately,” said Sprint’s director of entertainment wireless data Jeff Luther. “Pandora is a great way to break out of the same songs on your playlist and hear some new music that you may have never found otherwise. It’s the latest example of the many innovative ways that Sprint delivers music on the one device people carry with them throughout the day.”