As Spotify seeks to gain independence from Google, Apple and Amazon products, the music streaming service is looking to the car dashboard. The company intends to launch an in-car music player that can be controlled by voice later in 2019, per people with knowledge of the plans, Financial Times reported.
According to unnamed sources in the article, the product from Spotify would make a Bluetooth connection to car stereos. The product would also have preset buttons that connect with playlists on the Spotify platform. In addition, users would be able to use their voices to control the devices. Spotify is reportedly looking to price the device at roughly $100. It was also said that the company has been talking with an electronics manufacturer.
More than 125 million new cars with the ability to link to digital services could ship from 2018 to 2022, per Counterpoint Research. As NYU Professor of Music Business Larry Miller said, according to FT, "a very real possibility exists for the in-car dashboard to be the stage of a new content battle, in which radio might find it difficult to maintain positioning.”
The news comes as Spotify’s paid members numbered 87 million per a report in November, which marked a 40 percent year-over-year (YoY) increase from 2017. In its third-quarter results, the music streaming service said it saw an increase of four million paid users in the quarter, as well as 25 million additional paid customers within the past year. The company also highlighted that users who choose the service’s free model now number 109 million, which indicates a 20 percent rise from a year before.
Spotify’s growth is expected to continue: The company forecasted that paid subscriptions will hit somewhere between 93 million and 96 million by the end of the fourth quarter. “Growth continues to be healthy across our family and student plans, and the strong retention characteristics of this base continue to drive churn lower,” the company said in a statement at the time. At the same time, Fortune pointed out, Spotify’s numbers were higher than Apple Music’s 43.5 million paid subscribers.