Merchant Innovation

Possible Hardware Debut Looms For Spotify — The Vehicular Kind?

April 24 looms large for Spotify. The digital music streaming service last week said it would share news on that date at an event to be held in New York City. The details thus far are scant, and speculation is mounting.

CNET reported the company sent a “save the date” invitation to journalists on Friday with only the date and “general location” disclosed.

It may be the case that hardware is in the offing.

As reported by The Verge and other media outlets, there is some indication the company has been working on devices that run the gamut of in-car controllers — or, as The Verge terms it, “a standalone player” that would be voice-controlled.

The Verge reported in February that some Spotify customers said they received offers that were embedded in the app for a device that would be part of a $12.99 monthly subscription. The subscription price, totaling $155 annually, would cover both the firm’s music service and the hardware. That device, according to the publication, “has a circular design with physical buttons for track controls and shuffle, plus an LED running around the outside in Spotify’s signature green.”

Another data point: Still another Spotify subscriber showed The Verge a different $14.99 pricing option, with support tied to Amazon’s Alexa. In other cases, the company offered details that included 4G mobile data, with the implication of function independent of a smartphone.

In any event, there is, as of yet, no confirmation that such a device will debut later this month. Via Spotify support forums, moderators have said, “We’re always testing things to improve Spotify,” and, “Right now we don’t have any news on this, but we’ve let the right team know it’s something you’d like to see.”

There have been job listings from the company geared toward hardware initiatives, with The Verge noting that the music-streaming service is testing voice commands via app deployed over smartphones.

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