The senior editors of this media property ping each other multiple times daily. While most of the messages revolve around editorial content we compile or upcoming industry events our shop orchestrates, I along with fellow bearded one, Joe Overby, sometimes delve into dialogue about sports, food and music.

Our behavior made new insights from DTS highlighting the top songs users listened to in their vehicles last year even more intriguing. Literally, it was a crossroads of professional and personal interests.

Many folks from auctions, dealerships, finance companies and elsewhere have said in person or through social media that “all some people want is a car with four wheels and Apple CarPlay.”

I can understand the sentiment. With a trio of aftermarket accessories costing less than $150 combined, I was able to upfit my 2007 Toyota RAV4, so I can take advantage of the massive musical capabilities of an Apple iPhone with the factory sound system already installed.

After I turn the ignition, accessing my music library is the next order of business.

And no doubt, many other drivers get their music or other media content going straightaway, too.

“The way consumers view their vehicles has changed considerably in recent years. The vehicle is now viewed as a destination unto itself for work, socializing and even relaxing,” DTS said in a news release that highlighted DTS AutoStage’s Song Impact Report.

“Radio remains a pivotal entertainment source for the vehicle, and the DTS AutoStage platform, the only global entertainment platform for the connected car, is delivering next-generation, AI-powered connected radio, audio and video content for more than 100 connected car models worldwide, seamlessly combining linear broadcast with IP-delivered content that enables a powerfully personalized, unified, user-centric experience,” the wholly owned subsidiary of Xperi continued in that news release.

With that platform as the source, the report indicated the top 10 songs played last year included:

  1. “Cruel Summer” by Taylor Swift
  2. “Snooze” by SZA
  3. “Flowers” by Miley Cyrus
  4. “Calm Down” by Selena Gomez
  5. “Fast Car” by Luke Combs
  6. “Last Night” by SZA
  7. “Dance the Night” by Dua Lipa
  8. “Paint the Town Red” by Doja Cat
  9. “Sure Thing” by Miguel
  10. “Need a Favor” by Jelly Roll

“The radio industry has long reported spins, which provided some measure of a song’s performance, but in today’s digital age, it’s really all about the listener and how they are responding to new music,” Xperi senior vice president of broadcast at Joe D’Angelo said in the news release.

Confession time: Of those 10 songs, I have only heard one previously. And I’m old enough to remember when Tracey Chapman first sang that song Combs covered and gained so much airtime and attention for it. But, according to DTS, music afficionados sought out the original 1988 version after hearing Chapman give a live performance with Combs at the 2024 Grammys.

You can check out the top 100 songs played in vehicles last year through the DTS platform via this site.

How many of those songs have you heard previously? How many are among your favorite tunes?

Thanks to today’s technology, I’m still listening to the same 1990s country, pop and alternative music I heard on bootleg mix tapes and CDs in the old Chevrolets I drove in high school and college. I’ll ping Joe now and then with a song from that era he probably hasn’t heard previously. Joe replies sometimes with great songs from artists with real talent, not just a laptop tuner.

So, the next time you get behind the wheel, enjoy whatever music brings you joy. We sure do.

Nick Zulovich is senior editor at Cherokee Media Group and can be reached at