Spotify Is Bricking Car Thing, Leaving Users Furious

Spotify Is Bricking Car Thing, Leaving Users Furious

Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Spotify recently emailed its customers, informing them that Car Thing will be discontinued and no longer operational after December 9, 2024. This oddly-named device is the streaming company’s first-ever attempt at hardware and allows users to control Spotify in their cars via a touch-screen or voice commands.

In the extremely vague and frustrating statement the company put out, it attributed the discontinuation “as part of [their] ongoing efforts to streamline [their] product offerings. The closest thing to an apology the statement included was, “We understand it may be disappointing, but this decision allows us to focus on developing new features and enhancements that will ultimately provide a better experience to all Spotify users.”

The standalone streaming device was introduced to the world as a limited release in April 2021, and it wasn’t until February 2022 that it was available to the public. Just five months later, in July 2022, Spotify announced in its second quarterly earnings report that it was halting its production.

Car Thing was always a baffling little device that people were unsure about since it hogged a power port and an air vent while providing just…Spotify that is something that you can use your phone for. But it soon became slightly more useful and was always a lifesaver for folks driving an older car without Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, or Bluetooth.

Car Thing owners are furious about paying $90 for a dedicated device that’s about to become inoperable in less than three years after a public release. The company has made it clear that it isn’t releasing a replacement or a modified version nor offering any trade-in options for the device. Consumers have been asked to reset their Car Thing devices to factory settings and safely dispose of them “following local electronic waste guidelines.”

Some consumers are engaged in back-and-forths with Spotify and are demanding a refund. They’ve been disappointed on that front, too, with being offered a month of premium Spotify—priced at $11—in exchange for making a $90 gadget unusable. Others have announced they’re permanently switching to music streaming alternatives.

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