Spotify to shut off Car Thing for good, leading users to demand refunds

Spotify is notifying customers who purchased its Car Thing product that the devices will stop working after December 9, 2024. The company discontinued the device back in July 2022, but had said at the time that it would still support the units that had already been sold.

The company's plans for the device have changed, as Spotify told users on Thursday that all Car Thing units "will stop operating" later this year, according to the email sent to buyers.

Car Thing, which launched to the public in February 2022, was largely targeted toward people who don’t have a built-in infotainment system in their vehicles. The device worked by connecting with the Spotify mobile app on a user's phone to stream music over their car’s sound system. While Spotify cited low product demand and supply chain issues when deciding to discontinue the devices, Car Thing managed to find a niche community.

Users are understandably upset that a device they paid $90 for will now be unusable, despite being previously told that Spotify would still support it. Some have taken to social media to demand a refund for their purchase.

“The goal of our Car Thing exploration in the U.S. was to learn more about how people listen in the car," the company said in an emailed statement to TechCrunch. "In July 2022, we announced we’d stop further production and now it’s time to say goodbye to the devices entirely. Users will have until December 9, 2024 until all Car Thing devices will be deactivated."

The company's support page tells users to reset their Car Thing to factory settings and "safely dispose of your device following local electronic waste guidelines."

The page also says the move is part of Spotify's efforts to "streamline [its] product offerings" and that while it may be "disappointing," the change allows it to "focus on developing new features and enhancements."

It appears Spotify doesn't plan to revisit the hardware market anytime soon, as it notes that "there are no plans to release a replacement or new version of Car Thing."