Spotify Says the Hardware Player It Sold You Two Years Ago Will Stop Working and the Only Thing You Can Do Is Throw It in the Trash

Thinging Cowboy

The Spotify Car Thing wasn't exactly a hit when it went on sale in 2022— its production ceased within a year of its release. But many people with an older vehicle have come to rely on the quirky piece of hardware because it was a convenient way of controlling music without your phone.

But now it's becoming a thing of the past. Just two years after it came out, Spotify has announced that it's essentially going to brick everyone's Car Things, and there's pretty much nothing that happy owners can do about it.

"As of December 9th, 2024, Car Thing will be discontinued, and will stop operating," Spotify said in an email to customers.

After that date, the Car Thing won’t be able to play music and link up with Spotify — thus rendering it a glorified dashboard ornament. In fact, the only thing owners can and should do, Spotify said in its announcement, is to reset the thing and throw it away.

To rub salt in the wound, no refunds or trade-ins are being offered — nor are there plans to release a replacement or a new version of Car Thing, Spotify said. Ouch.

Song and Dance

The Car Thing was heavily flawed, to be sure. It came with no onboard storage and could only connect to a car's speaker via Bluetooth. Still, it found lasting appeal to those with cars that didn’t have convenient smartphone integration features like Apple Carplay, allowing drivers to safely view and select music with its giant knob instead of swiping through a phone screen.

Those loyal owners are now outraged by Spotify's decision, who understandably aren't happy that their $90 piece of hardware is getting junked with no recourse.

"Hey Spotify, I'd love my money back for my perfectly functional Car Thing that will cease to work at the end of this year," one owner said on X-formerly-Twitter.

"What the f*ck do you mean stop operating," another fumed. "Some people actually use the car thing DAILY."

Huge Waste

Some owners have called on Spotify to open-source the device so that they can manually maintain or repurpose it. That could help mitigate another problem that the discontinuation raises: the needless creation of a bunch of e-waste.

Perhaps Spotify, which just laid off thousands of its employees, didn't feel it was worth keeping people working on maintaining the Car Thing anymore.

It's emblematic of the practices of many other Big Tech firms, which are fine with prematurely ending support for devices if it'll save them a few bucks, even if — like how Microsoft's killing of Windows 10 could put hundreds of millions of computers in landfills — it creates a huge amount of waste.

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