Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Spotify’s Attack on Radio in the Car | Hear 2.0

It’s informed speculation at this point, but the story goes like this:

By the end of this month, Spotify is expected to make some hardware announcements, and there’s a good chance that one of those announcements will be designed to bring the platform closer to more cars.

Obviously anybody with a smartphone and bluetooth can conceivably use Spotify in their cars, but the platform is notoriously laborious – indeed, that’s the whole point of Spotify: Getting exactly what you want when you want it – and that takes a bit of effort. For most users, it’s not the passive experience that Pandora is, let alone traditional radio.

This sneaky promo was spotted by some music fans on Reddit:

And it was described this way by

…a number of Spotify customers received an offer from the company. It showed a round device with an LED ring, several physical controls and it was clearly mounted on a dashboard. An in-car Spotify player. According to The Verge, the offer of an in-car Spotify player went out to multiple subscribers. And there were variations. For some, the Spotify hardware was offered as part of a $12.99 subscription; for others, it was $14.99 per month. On some, the device offered a cellular connectivity option. Some customers were told it supported, Inc.’s Alexa voice assistant. The two things all of these occurrences had in common were that the hardware was clearly an in-car Spotify player, and the offers quickly disappeared.

Now I’m not particularly a fan of add-on car gadgets, whether they come from Spotify or from SiriusXM. I think the very fact of being an “add-on” creates an adoption hurdle, not to mention a dashboard eyesore. This device would be no exception.


The idea of being able to control Spotify by voice in the car – any car by any manufacturer, new or old – has certain appeal.

This is an example of Spotify moving closer to the dashboard for the vast proportion of cars which currently don’t make it easy (like my late model Toyota, for example).

Is it real? In some form, probably.

Will it release this month? Maybe, maybe not. But if not now, look for it later this year.

Will it displace the radio? Of course not.

But will it nibble at the edges of every music station’s time spent listening? You bet it will.

As always, my advice is unchanged: Be unreplaceable. Be irresistible. Be beyond substitution and you will have nothing to fear.


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