Spotify’s less than stellar quarter can be partly blamed on the decision to exit the hardware business. As part of its revenue data, the streaming service revealed that it has stopped manufacturing its Car Thing player. In a statement to Engadget, a company spokesperson pinned the decision on “several factors” which included customer demand and supply chain issues. The withdrawal hurt Spotify’s gross profits.
Existing Car Thing units will still work as intended, Spotify said. The company said it’s still “unlocking useful learnings” from the device despite its brief history, and the car remains an “important place” for audio. You can still buy the Car Thing for $50 (compared to the usual $90) at the time of this writing.
Spotify first shared Car Thing in 2019, but the finished product only hit the mainstream early this year after months of invitation-only sales. It was actually a Spotify player for cars that didn’t have streaming functionality, and served as an informative experience for the company. Weak demand would not be surprising. Many cars can access Spotify via Android Auto, Apple CarPlay or built-in apps – Car Thing was mainly useful 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 its shift toward audiobooks and podcasts is paying off in lowering the relative cost of music label royalties . Car Thing’s demise theoretically helps Spotify focus on those hits and prepare for a widely expected global recession.
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