Spotify Hits Eject on Car Thing, Leaving Owners High and Dry


Spotify to Discontinue Car Thing Device, Leaving Owners in the Lurch

Spotify is pulling the plug on its Car Thing device, leaving owners of the music streaming accessory with a product that will become unusable after December 9, 2024. The company informed customers who purchased the $90 device on Thursday that it will deactivate all Car Thing units next year.

The move comes just over a year after Spotify first made Car Thing available to the public in February 2022. Designed for vehicles without built-in infotainment systems, the device allowed users to stream music over their car's speakers by connecting to the Spotify mobile app on their smartphone.

While Spotify discontinued production of Car Thing last July citing low demand and supply chain constraints, the company had initially assured buyers that it would continue supporting the existing devices. However, Spotify now says it has changed course as part of efforts to "streamline its product offerings."

"The goal of our Car Thing exploration in the U.S. was to learn more about how people listen in the car," a Spotify spokesperson stated. "In July 2022, we announced we'd stop further production and now it's time to say goodbye to the devices entirely."

Car Thing had developed a niche following among users, despite its lukewarm reception. Many owners are understandably frustrated that an accessory they paid for is being rendered useless by Spotify's decision to deactivate the devices entirely.

"Users will have until December 9, 2024 until all Car Thing devices will be deactivated," the company told customers, recommending they reset the device to factory settings and properly dispose of the hardware after that date.

Spotify maintains the decision will allow it to "focus on developing new features and enhancements" for its core music streaming service. However, the company has no plans to revisit the hardware market, stating "there are no plans to release a replacement or new version of Car Thing."

The abrupt end-of-life for Car Thing highlights the risks of companies straying from their core competencies into peripheral hardware accessories. While Spotify positioned the device as an experiment to learn about in-car listening habits, it has left some early adopters feeling burned by the lack of long-term support.