Spotify Car Thing Brings Internet Music to Older Cars

Spotify Car Thing Featured

You may be like me and have an older car with no designs on buying a new one soon. But that means you don’t get the benefits of CarPlay and Android Auto. Help is on the way. Spotify is launching “Car Thing,” a device that can be used no matter the age of your car, on a limited release.

Spotify Announces Car Thing

In my situation, there’s just no point in buying a new car – I have less than 30,000 miles on it, despite it being a 2012. I’ve considered having a replacement stereo with CarPlay installed. But now there will be another option for Spotify users.

The problem with having your existing radio replaced with a new one with Android Auto or CarPlay is that they can only fit within the space of the existing radio. This limits your options.

Spotify Car Thing Smartphone

Spotify, though, claims you can use Car Thing no matter the year or model of your car. It doesn’t specify that it’s an external device, but it appears to be.

In its announcement, Spotify leaned heavily on the use of playlists. It notes that there are more than 70 million driving-related playlists created by users. Sure, it’s possible to play Spotify on CarPlay and Android Play, but it would be more direct on Car Thing, and again, it would work in every car.

Along with music, Car Thing would also provide news, podcasts, entertainment, talk, etc. Spotify promises you can listen to all your favorite content more quickly and that switching music, podcasts, etc., is very simple.

Spotify explains that it’s not leaving the audio business to create hardware, “but we developed Car Thing because we saw a need from our users, many of whom were missing out on a seamless and personalized in-car listening experience.”

Spotify Car Thing Device

The announcement also claims it’s not trying to replace the systems that are installed in your car. It says the goal is to create “a truly frictionless audio experience for our users, wherever they are and however they choose to listen.” But using the two systems and devices in your car would seem ridiculous. You’re most likely going to use one or the other.

While the options with Car Thing are limiting, the user experience couldn’t be easier. You can use it with voice control, a dial, a touch screen, or preset buttons.


Spotify explained that Car Thing is seeing a limited product launch. It will only be available in the United States at launch and will be on the basis of invite only.

Additionally, it will only be available to Spotify Premium subscribers. You are also required to have a smartphone with Wi-Fi or a mobile data connection and Bluetooth. But it’s FREE.

Join the wait list at the Car Thing website.

Read on to learn about another feature Spotify was testing: Stories.

Image Credit: Spotify and public domain

Laura Tucker
Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

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