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

Spotify is launching its own hardware for the first time, an infotainment device dubbed “Car Thing” in a strangely succinct manner.

Spotify’s Car Thing promises to make life (streaming) easier and faster for you, and the device is part of a larger goal to streamline Spotify’s streaming.

Car Thing was created for all users, regardless of what car they drive, to make it easier to search, play, and enjoy their favorite audio material while on the road.

What’s the Deal With Spotify’s Car Addiction?

While driving, Car Thing functions as a remote for streaming Spotify material from your smartphone. The device is a car-based smart player that lets you listen to music, podcasts, and more.

Because Americans are so busy and always on the go, there is an increasing demand for quick, efficient answers to everyday requirements, including entertainment. This explains why Spotify has over 70 million driving-related playlists created by users.

Despite the availability of so many playlists, Spotify claims that its consumers are still “losing out on a smooth and personalized in-car listening experience.”

As a result, the firm saw a chance to offer customers Spotify’s Car Thing, a solution that gives you a more complete listening experience.

Spotify’s Car Thing promises to provide you with the ideal companion for your road trip by providing a smooth streaming experience from the time you enter your vehicle.

How to Use Spotify’s Car Feature

Following an invite-only debut for a restricted group of eligible listeners, Car Thing is now available to all users in the United States for $89.99 starting February 22, 2022.

If you have a Spotify Premium subscription, you can purchase Spotify’s Car Thing directly from the Car Thing page. To use the device, you’ll also need a smartphone with an internet connection (through Wi-Fi or your mobile data plan).

How to Make the Most of Spotify’s Car Feature

Here’s how to use Car Thing’s most important features if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one.

1. Use Voice Controls to Easily Access Your Library

Spotify’s voice search works similarly to speech assistants like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, or even your car’s infotainment system, in that it helps you discover and play whatever you want. Simply say “Hey Spotify” and tell it exactly what you want it to do, whether it’s for a song, album, artist, playlist, station, or podcast.

“Hey Spotify, play my favorites,” or “Hey Spotify, shuffle today’s top hits,” for example. Spotify has placed four microphones along the top of the gadget to ensure that Car Thing can hear what you’re saying, even if your volume is turned up or your windows are down.

2. Use the dial to navigate songs with your hands.

Try utilizing the dial instead of voice control if you’re a bit old school and like to manually select the sort of audio you want to listen to, or if you simply want to be more hands-on and traverse your Spotify library yourself.

You probably already know where to locate the music and podcasts you want to listen to, so you can easily construct the playlist you need to get you where you’re going with the dial. Use the dial to quickly and easily browse, choose, play, or pause audio and find what you’re looking for.

3. Take a look at the touchscreen display to see what’s going on.

Automotive Thing, like many other car entertainment systems, is interactive, letting you use the touch screen to explore and navigate your Spotify library, as well as to see the results of voice searches. You can also swipe to go back or forth in time or tap to play.

4. Select four pre-programmed buttons

Because you use Car Thing while you’re on the go, it has buttons to help you save time. Simply hop inside your vehicle, press a button, and begin listening to your favorite music while driving.

Is Spotify Putting Money Into Hardware?

You might be wondering if, with this new product, Spotify is formally joining and competing in the hardware industry. No, that is not the case. Spotify has reaffirmed its commitment to becoming the world’s most popular 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 to you, providing you with a wide variety of audio content in the comfort of your car—no matter what car you drive or whether your car lacks a robust infotainment system.

As mentioned in a For the Record post:

No matter the year or model of your vehicle, we feel everyone should have a superior listening experience. With Car Thing, we’ll now be bringing our entire catalogue of music and podcasts to a wider range of users across an even wider range of vehicles.

It Isn’t Designed to Compete With In-Car Navigation Systems

Spotify claims that Car Thing is just another step in its bigger ubiquity strategy—creating a “frictionless audio experience” for its consumers, wherever they are and however they choose to listen.

In an article on For the Record, Spotify’s VP of Product, Sten Garmark, stated:

It’s to take whatever moment you’re in—if you’re driving, in your home, if you’re on your headphones, if you’re exercising—and make sure that you can get to your Spotify experience as easily and as quickly as possible.

The end state here is to ensure that Spotify aligns more deeply with the multiple devices in your life so that you won’t need to find the songs or podcasts to suit the moment—they will find you.

The Car Thing Provides a Better In-Car Listening Experience

Spotify appears to have the right concept when it comes to streamlining its overall experience and giving a suitable solution for faster, more convenient, and more efficient streaming in your car.

While your phone may suffice, Car Thing can improve your listening experience by allowing you to listen to your favorite audio content with more ease, comfort, and control while driving.


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