Spotify is Testing an In-Car Device Called ‘Car Thing’ to Discover How People Listen to Music and Podcasts

BY Evan Selleck

Published 17 May 2019

People spend a lot of time in vehicles. As such, we tend to listen to a lot of music (and podcasts). Spotify wants to learn what it can about our time behind the wheel and what we listen to at the same time. As such, the company is testing an in-car device to do just that.

Spotify, in a blog post on Friday, officially unveiled something that has been rumored since January of this year. They are calling it “Car Thing”, and it’s a small piece of hardware that’s meant to sit in your car. It’s a voice-controlled piece of hardware, and Spotify wants to use it solely to figure out how people listen to music and podcasts while in a vehicle.

Interestingly, there have been rumors in the past suggesting Spotify is jumping into the hardware business. And that it could start with an in-car piece of hardware. However, in the blog post Spotify says it’s not moving in that direction. Instead, Car Thing is just about the test and learning listener’s behavior.

This test will only be in the United States and it will begin in the “coming weeks”. Spotify also states that this “specific device” won’t be making its way to the general consumer in the future. However, it will be used to “develop experiences” in the future. Here are the major bullet points from the announcement:

  • 1. We’re testing how people listen in the car through a voice-controlled music and podcast device called “Car Thing.”
  • 2. While we know there has been some speculation about our future plans, Car Thing was developed to help us learn more about how people listen to music and podcasts. Our focus remains on becoming the world’s number one audio platform—not on creating hardware.
  • 3. The test will be done in the US only, with a small group of invited Spotify Premium users.
  • 4. We might do similar voice-specific tests in the future, so don’t be surprised if you hear about “Voice Thing” and “Home Thing.”
  • 5. We don’t have any current plans to make this specific device available to consumers, but the learnings from our test will dictate how we develop experiences everywhere you listen.

A small test, but it sounds like this could lead to big things in the future. What that actually entails, though, remains to be seen. Spotify was testing its “Car View” earlier this year, too, which alters the controls to make it easier to use.

We Want To Hear From You

What do you think of this particular test? Should Spotify actually launch a hardware device for cars?

[via Spotify]