Streaming music service Spotify says it has halted production of Car Thing, its $90 hands-free car accessory designed to make it easier for drivers to play songs and podcasts while driving.
The announcement came on Wednesday during a conference call with investors, after Spotify released its earnings results earlier in the day.
Car Thing was a small accessory designed to be attached to a car’s air conditioning vent or other dashboard location. It’s designed to help drivers keep their eyes on the road by allowing drivers to use their voice to search for albums, songs, and podcasts. The device also allowed passengers to DJ via the gadget’s oversized control knob and multi-function button.
The device plugged into a car’s auxiliary socket and was primarily aimed at users who lacked a screen-based entertainment system in their vehicles. Drivers had to pair their devices with a smartphone via Bluetooth and use the phone’s data plan or files downloaded via the Spotify app to stream audio into the car.
Car Thing was announced by Spotify in April 2021 and was available with a special invite for $90. It went on sale without an invitation in February. This month, Spotify lowered the price of Car Thing from $90 to $50 as part of a “summer sale” — one that will likely be permanent as the company seeks to liquidate its remaining inventory.
It’s unclear how many Car Thing devices hit the road, but it clearly didn’t catch on with users, who could just as easily pick up their phone and play music while driving (though they shouldn’t) or audio content while parked or on other way could switch stopped.
A Spotify executive said Wednesday that they intend to continue supporting existing Car Thing devices and that customers who use them have helped the company get helpful information to guide their decision-making processes when developing new features for people who are streaming Spotify content to their cars.
“This initiative has unleashed helpful insights, and we continue to focus on the car as an important place for audio,” a Spotify spokesperson told technology publication TechCrunch.
As part of its quarterly earnings report, Spotify said it added 19 million new users in the three months ended June 30 to end the quarter with 433 million subscribers. Around 188 million of these users pay for Spotify through one of the many tiers of service; Spotify starts at $10 per month for a subscription and goes up to $15 per month for a family account with a maximum of six users.
Spotify competes in the domestic audio streaming market with Apple Music, Amazon Music, Tidal, Deezer, YouTube Music and SiriusXM Pandora.