Spotify’s Car Thing player is no longer a thing

Spotify’s less-than-stellar quarter can be attributed in part to the decision to exit the hardware business. As part of its earnings dates, the streaming service announced that it has ceased production of its Car Thing player. In a statement to Engadget, a company spokesman attributed the decision to “multiple factors,” including customer demand and supply chain issues. The withdrawal hurt Spotify’s gross profits.

Existing Car Thing units will continue to function as expected, Spotify said. The company said it still gained “helpful insights” from the device despite its short history and the car has remained an “important place” for audio. You can still pick up the Car Thing for $50 (up from the usual $90) as of this writing.

Spotify first talked about Car Thing in 2019, but the finished product didn’t reach the general public until earlier this year after several months of being sold by invitation only. It was effectively a non-streaming in-car Spotify player and served as an informational experiment for the company. Low demand would not be surprising. Many cars can access Spotify via Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, or built-in apps – Car Thing was especially helpful for people with older vehicles who wanted a music streaming upgrade but didn’t want to mount their phone.

The cancellation comes despite otherwise positive signs. Spotify’s free and paid listener bases continue to grow (to 433 million and 188 million users, respectively), and the shift to audiobooks and podcasts is paying dividends by reducing the relative cost of music label royalties. The demise of Car Thing theoretically helps Spotify focus on those successes and prepare for a widely anticipated global recession.

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