Spotify Is Developing Its First Hardware Called Car Thing

Over the years, Spotify has become one of the most popular music streaming platforms in the world. With over 356 million monthly active users and 158 million premium subscribers, it has revolutionized the way we listen to music. But now, the company is taking a step further by developing its first hardware, known as “Car Thing,” which aims to enhance the user experience while driving. This move has sparked interest and speculation among both music enthusiasts and industry experts alike. In this article, we will delve into what exactly Car Thing is, how it works, and what it means for the music streaming industry.

The Evolution of Spotify and the Introduction of Car Thing

  • The Rise of Spotify: Spotify was launched in 2008 in Sweden and quickly gained popularity among music lovers worldwide. Its user-friendly interface, extensive library, and personalized recommendations attracted millions of users, causing a shift in the music industry’s landscape.
  • The Need for Car Thing: While Spotify’s mobile app allows users to access their favorite music on-the-go, the company recognized that there was still room for improvement, especially for drivers. In a survey conducted by Spotify, 73% of car owners stated that they listen to music while driving, but only 14% use streaming services.
  • Introducing Car Thing: In 2019, Spotify announced that they were working on their first hardware device – Car Thing. The device is designed to be a voice-controlled smart assistant for cars, allowing drivers to control their music and access other features hands-free.

How Does Car Thing Work?

Car Thing is a small device with a circular screen and a few buttons that can be mounted on the vehicle’s dashboard or air vent. It connects to the internet through Bluetooth or WiFi and can be controlled through voice commands using the phrase “Hey Spotify.” The device is integrated with the user’s Spotify account and can be used to play music, access podcasts, and listen to audiobooks.

Apart from playing music, Car Thing also has a few other features, including personalized recommendations, voice search, and playlist creation. It also has physical buttons for play/pause, skip, and rewind, making it easier for drivers to navigate while on the road.

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Impact on the Music Streaming Industry

  • Competition with Traditional Radio: With Car Thing, Spotify is aiming to compete with traditional radio, which is still the go-to choice for many drivers. By offering a wide range of content and personalized recommendations, the device may entice more drivers to switch to music streaming.
  • Data Collection and Personalization: Car Thing collects data on users’ listening habits, location, and preferences, which will allow Spotify to further personalize its services and improve recommendations. This data can also be valuable for advertisers, allowing them to target ads based on location and interests.
  • Potential for Expansion: While Car Thing is currently only available to a small group of invited Spotify Premium users in the US, there is potential for expansion to other regions and possibly even integration with other smart devices in the future.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Car Thing

Pros of Car Thing

  • Hands-free Control: One of the main advantages of Car Thing is its hands-free control, making it easier and safer for drivers to access their music while on the road.
  • Personalized Recommendations: By using data collected through Car Thing, Spotify can offer highly personalized recommendations to users, enhancing their overall listening experience.
  • Convenience: With Car Thing, drivers no longer have to fiddle with their phones or car radios to find their favorite songs, making the process more convenient and seamless.

Cons of Car Thing

  • Limited Compatibility: Currently, Car Thing is only compatible with a limited number of vehicles and requires a smartphone and Spotify Premium subscription to function.
  • Potential Distraction: While Car Thing is designed for hands-free use, it still has a screen and buttons that may cause some level of distraction for drivers.
  • Privacy Concerns: As with any device that collects personal data, there are concerns about user privacy and how Spotify will handle this sensitive information.

The Future of Car Thing and Music Streaming as a Whole

The Impact on the Music Industry

Car Thing has the potential to transform the music industry in several ways. By offering a new way to listen to music while driving, it may lead to a decline in traditional radio listenership. This could also result in a shift in advertising strategies, with more companies choosing to advertise through streaming services rather than radio.

Additionally, Car Thing’s ability to collect data on users’ listening habits and preferences can provide valuable insights for artists and record labels. This data can be used to gauge the popularity of songs and artists and influence decisions on marketing and promotions.

Potential Challenges for Car Thing

While Car Thing may seem like a game-changer in the music streaming industry, it may face some challenges in its adoption. One of the main obstacles is the limited compatibility with vehicles, which may limit its reach to a certain demographic. It also remains to be seen whether users are willing to invest in a separate device solely for music streaming while driving.

Another potential challenge is competition from other smart devices, such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, which already have a presence in homes and cars. Spotify will have to ensure that Car Thing offers unique features and a seamless experience to attract users.


What sets Car Thing apart from other music streaming devices?

Car Thing’s main differentiating factor is its focus on enhancing the driver’s listening experience while on the road. It offers hands-free control and personalized recommendations specifically for drivers.

Is Car Thing a standalone device or does it need to be connected to a smartphone?

Car Thing requires a smartphone with the Spotify app and a premium subscription to function. It connects to the internet through Bluetooth or WiFi.

Will Car Thing be available in other countries?

Currently, Car Thing is only available to a small group of invited Spotify Premium users in the US. There is no information on when it will be released in other regions.

Does Car Thing have any additional features besides playing music?

Apart from playing music, Car Thing also has voice search, personalized recommendations, and playlist creation features.

How much does Car Thing cost?

There is no information on the price of Car Thing yet, as it is currently only available to a select group of users for testing purposes.


Spotify’s latest venture into hardware with Car Thing is a clear indication that the company is continuously evolving and looking for ways to enhance its user experience. With hands-free control and personalized recommendations, Car Thing aims to make music streaming while driving more convenient and enjoyable for users. While there may be some challenges in its adoption, the potential impact on the music industry is undeniable. As technology continues to advance, it will be interesting to see how Car Thing and other smart devices shape the future of music streaming.

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