Spotify continues blowing through vast sums of money they claim they cannot afford to pay artists, staggering away from the discussion like a hedge fund trader lured by a nearby salad bowl full of cocaine. Aside from paying hundreds of millions for podcast rights from the host of Fear Factor, ex-royals and castoffs from the Barstool Sports empire, Spotify has now admitted that their handheld mobile product has been a costly and embarrassing failure.
The product — people thought we were joking about this, but it really was called “The Car Thing” — was a kind of remote control for your phone. It didn’t make sense to people who are used to treating their phone like a remote control to turn things on and off and adjust volumes and the like. Particularly confusing was the fact that Car Thing was about the same size as a phone. You would clamp the Car Thing to your dashboard and it would respond to commands like “show similar artists,” which would then instruct your phone or Apple CarPlay to open Spotify and “show similar artists.”
Dropped after just 5 months, Car Thing was another multi-million dollar swindle Spotify chased instead of paying musicians fairly.
Car Thing was a car radio, essentially, but one that could only play Spotify. Or rather command a phone to play Spotify. Shortly after launch, 5 Mag called it “the dumbest product of the year” and I find it hard to believe anyone could disagree.
The product debuted to the general public in February 2022 and was terminated just five months later. This represents an embarrassing retreat for Spotify’s only hardware product. The company issued a release blaming “product demand” but also “supply chain issues” and slashed the price almost in half to rid themselves of the thing. Spotify also claimed the company used Car Thing “to learn about how people listen to audio in cars.” They also claimed, using weirdly cult language, that “This initiative unlocked helpful learnings.” Apparently the biggest “learnings” were that none of them want to listen to audio in cars using Car Thing.