Spotify’s Car Thing Player Will Stop Working After December 9th

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Key Takeaways

  • Spotify has warned that its Car Thing music device will stop working after December 9th.
  • The company said this would help it focus its product line.
  • The end of support is leaving owners angry.

Spotify has warned that its Car Thing device will “no longer be operational” after December 9th.

The streaming music giant claimed this was needed to help “streamline” its products. The move would let it concentrate on features that help all Spotify users, according to a statement.

Spotify recommended wiping the Car Thing’s data and getting rid of it entirely. There are “no plans” at present for a follow-up product, the company said.

Car Thing debuted as Spotify’s first hardware product in February 2022. It was aimed at people with older cars or who otherwise lacked an infotainment system that could play Spotify directly. You would send music streams from your phone to the device, which sat mounted on your dash.

Spotify discontinued the product in July that same year, citing a lack of demand and the supply chain issues that had affected much of the world. It promised ongoing support for users, though, and that has led many customers to call for refunds of the $90 device.

The decision isn’t surprising. Many cars from the past decade have at least some way of streaming Spotify, whether it’s through a basic Bluetooth link or smartphone integrations like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Some cars, such as Tesla’s, can play Spotify directly.  There’s an increasingly limited market for devices like Car Thing.

Spotify has also been reeling from its layoffs. It cut 1,500 jobs in December, and founder Daniel Ek said he was surprised at how difficult operations had become in the months afterward. Spotify is looking to regain its footing, and slashing Car Thing might help.

The discontinuation nonetheless underscores one of the problems with constantly connected devices. In some cases, companies can remotely render hardware unusable no matter how well it was working before.  That strips control from users, and risks producing unnecessary e-waste.