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What Is Spotify’s Car Thing and How Does It Work?

For the first time, Spotify is launching its own hardware, an infotainment gadget oddly and succinctly named “Car Thing”.

With Car Thing, Spotify aims to make life (streaming) easier and quicker for you, and the device forms part of a bigger plan to make its streaming more streamlined.

Car Thing is designed for all users, no matter what car you drive, and to help you find, play and enjoy your favorite audio content quicker while on the road.

What Is Spotify’s Car Thing?

Car Thing acts as a remote for streaming your Spotify content from your smartphone while in your car. The device is a smart player for your car that allows you to listen to your music, podcasts, and more. Spotify announced the launch of Car Thing on April 13, 2021.

With Americans being so busy and therefore constantly on the move, there is a growing demand for quick, convenient solutions to everyday needs—including our entertainment needs. This explains why there are more than 70 million user-generated, driving-related playlists on Spotify.

However, even with so many of these playlists available, Spotify stated that its customers were still “missing out on a seamless and personalized in-car listening experience”. The company, therefore, identified an opportunity to provide customers with Car Thing, Spotify’s solution that provides you with a more holistic listening experience.

Through Car Thing, Spotify aims to give you the perfect companion for your journey on the road by providing you with a seamless streaming experience from the moment you enter your car.

Is Spotify Investing in Hardware?

You may be wondering if Spotify is officially entering and competing in the hardware market through this new offering. The answer is no. Spotify has reinforced that it remains committed to becoming the world’s leading audio platform.

The company stated that its focus was not on creating a hardware device, but rather on creating a solution; a seamless in-car listening experience that is tailored for you, providing you with a wide variety of audio content in the comfort of your car—no matter what car you drive, and even if your car does not have a robust infotainment system.

It’s Not Meant to Compete With In-Car Infotainment Systems

Spotify states that it is not attempting to compete with your car’s infotainment system, but that Car Thing is simply another step in its larger ubiquity strategy—creating a “frictionless audio experience” for its users, wherever they are and however they choose to listen.

How to Get Spotify’s Car Thing

As this is a limited product launch, at the time of writing Car Thing is only available to selected, eligible listeners on an invite-only basis. The device is currently free and those who are able to get it will just have to pay for shipping. Spotify claims that Car Thing will retail for $79.99 when it fully launches.

To qualify for Car Thing, you have to be on Spotify’s Premium subscription plan; and to use the gadget, you need to have a smartphone with an internet connection. Only eligible paying subscribers can use the device

Here are some of the terms to take note of:

  • As an eligible subscriber, you may only redeem one Car Thing offer. Codes are personal and can not be transferred.
  • This Car Thing offer is supply limited and Spotify may therefore limit eligibility and/or duration to prevent abuse of the offer.
  • You are required to have a Spotify Premium subscription plan in order for Car Thing to work, which is not included in the price of Car Thing.
  • Car Thing can only be shipped within the United States and you are liable for any applicable shipping charges.

How to Use Spotify’s Car Thing

If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on Car Thing, here’s how to use the device’s most essential features.

1. Easily Access Your Library With Voice Controls

Much like the voice assistants you’re accustomed to, such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa; or even your own car’s infotainment system, Spotify’s voice search helps you find and play anything you fancy. Whether it’s a song, album, artist, playlist, station, or podcast. Simply say, “Hey Spotify”, then tell it exactly what you want it to do.

For example, “Hey Spotify, play my favorites”, or “Hey Spotify, shuffle today’s top hits”. Spotify has ensured that Car Thing will be able to hear what you’re saying, even when your volume is high or your windows down, by placing four microphones along the top of the device.

2. Use the Dial for a Hands-on Way to Navigate Songs

If you’re a bit old school and prefer to select the type of audio you want to listen to manually, or if you simply want to be more hands-on and navigate your Spotify library yourself, try using the dial instead of voice control.

You probably know where to find the music and podcasts you want to listen to, so, by using the dial you can quickly curate the playlist you need to get you wherever you’re headed. Use the dial to browse, select, play, or pause, and discover the audio you’re looking for with ease and speed.

3. View the Touchscreen Display to See What’s Playing

Much like many car infotainment systems, Car Thing is interactive, allowing you to view and navigate your Spotify library using the touch screen and to view results from voice search. You can also swipe to browse further or skip, or tap to play.

4. Choose Four Preset Buttons

Because you use Car Thing while you’re on the go, the device comes with buttons to help save you time. Simply get into your car, select a button, and start listening to your favorite content while you drive.

Get an Enhanced In-Car Listening Experience

It seems like Spotify has got the right idea about streamlining its overall experience and providing a handy solution for quicker, more convenient, and more efficient streaming in your car. While your phone may do the job just fine, Car Thing can enhance your listening experience by giving you more ease, comfort, and control as you listen to your favourite audio content while driving.