Spotify Says Goodbye to Car Thing: A Strategic Retreat or Missed Opportunity?

Spotify, the world’s leading music streaming platform, has announced the discontinuation of its foray into hardware – the Car Thing. Launched in 2021 with the aim of providing a convenient way to control music playback while driving, the Car Thing met a swift demise just two years later. This decision by Spotify sparks a debate – was this a well-thought-out strategic move or a missed opportunity?

Let’s delve into the details of Spotify’s Car Thing and the reasons behind its discontinuation.

A Short-Lived Experiment

The Car Thing was a voice-controlled dashboard accessory that allowed users to control Spotify playback, access playlists and podcasts, and even make calls using voice commands. While it seemed like a natural extension for a music streaming service, the Car Thing’s high price point (initially $89.99, later increased to $99.99) and lack of widespread adoption might have hampered its success.

Spotify’s official statement attributes the discontinuation to streamlining their product offerings. This suggests a strategic shift in focus, prioritizing core software development over venturing into hardware.

Strategic Move or Missed Opportunity?

The decision to discontinue the Car Thing can be interpreted in two ways:

  • Strategic Move: Spotify might be focusing on its core strength – its software platform. By discontinuing the Car Thing, they can reallocate resources towards improving the user experience within the app, developing new features, and potentially even lowering subscription costs. Additionally, the crowded market for car dashboard accessories, with established players like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, could have discouraged Spotify from further investment.
  • Missed Opportunity: The discontinuation could also be seen as a missed opportunity. Voice control is becoming increasingly important in the car, and a well-designed device could have provided a unique advantage to Spotify. Additionally, some users might have preferred a dedicated device for music playback over using their phones while driving.

The Future of Hardware for Spotify

While the Car Thing’s discontinuation suggests Spotify might be moving away from hardware entirely, it’s important to note that the company hasn’t explicitly ruled out future hardware ventures. The announcement mentions “focusing on developing new features and enhancements for all Spotify users,” leaving room for speculation. Perhaps Spotify will integrate similar functionalities within the app or partner with car manufacturers to offer voice-controlled music playback directly through car infotainment systems.


Spotify’s decision to discontinue the Car Thing is a strategic move that allows them to focus on their core software business. However, it also raises questions about the future of hardware ventures for streaming services. Whether this is a missed opportunity or a wise strategic decision, only time will tell. As the tech landscape continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see if Spotify ventures back into the hardware market with a more refined product strategy.

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