Spotify To Brick ‘Car Thing,’ Its Radio Dashboard Competitor


In 2021, Spotify launched Car Thing to create an in-auto dashboard specifically for Spotify. Now the streamer isn’t just abandoning the device after three years, it will cause the device to stop functioning entirely – meaning a total loss for all who purchased it.

Spotify is currently facing a class action lawsuit concerning Car Thing, according to a filing in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York on May 28.

The discontinuation announcement was followed by Spotify’s recent confirmation that all existing Car Thing devices will cease functioning by December 9, 2024. This decision prompted a group of consumers, who had purchased the voice-controlled dashboard tablet, to sue Spotify for allegedly selling a product with knowledge of its impending obsolescence.

The tablet was initially touted as a way to bring a connected car experience into older automobiles without Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The product didn’t have a long production run, either. In July 2022, Spotify Chief Financial Officer Paul Vogel announced the discontinuation of the product, citing unviable pricing, inflationary pressures, and supply chain challenges.

A Spotify spokesperson elaborated on the company’s decision, telling Ars Technica, “The goal of our Car Thing exploration in the US was to learn more about how people listen in the car. In July 2022, we announced we’d stop further production and now it’s time to say goodbye to the devices entirely.”

As for those that own the device, Spotify suggests, “Resetting your Car Thing to factory settings and safely disposing of your device following local electronic waste guidelines. Contact your state or local waste disposal department to determine how to dispose of or recycle Car Thing in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.”

The class-action lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for all Car Thing purchasers and adds to Spotify’s legal challenges, which include disputes over its bundled subscription services strategy in the US. Spotify has announced it will start offering refunds for customers with a proof of purchase.

Last year, Edison Research found that of individuals aged 13 and up who don’t have access to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto predominantly listen to AM/FM radio, which accounts for 67% of their in-car audio time. This group spends 9% of their time on streaming services, 12% on SiriusXM, and 4% on podcasts.


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