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Spotify Car Thing struggling to meet demand

Spotify Car Thing
(Image credit: Spotify)

Hoping to get your hands on a Spotify Car Thing? You'll need to be patient – more than two million people have signed up to the wait list to buy the in-car entertainment device.

According to Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, "the no.1 constraint for us at this particular moment... is chip shortages. We just can't make enough [Car Things] to get them out there to consumers".

Sound familiar? Recent chip shortages have led to a lack digital cameras, electric cars smartphones and, of course, games consoles (here's where to find PS5 stock, if you're struggling).

Spotify began offering Car Thing to its Premium subscribers on an "invite only" basis in April, before launching it on a "limited" basis two weeks ago. The $80 (around £60, AU$110) device lets you play Spotify in your car without taking out your phone. 

The gadget works in a similar fashion to Amazon's Echo Auto; you can speak to control Car Thing using voice search – just say "Hey Spotify" followed by your request and it'll do the rest. There's also a physical dial that allows you to scroll through menus and select items, or you can use the touchscreen.

There was once talk of Spotify releasing all manner of hardware from MP3 players to musical lightbulbs, but it seems that the Car Thing could be a one-off. 

"Our focus remains on becoming the world's number one audio platform – not on creating hardware – but we developed Car Thing because we saw a need from our users, many of whom were missing out on a seamless and personalized in-car listening experience," the firm wrote in an April 2021 blog post

Car Thing is currently only available in the US and is unlikely to launch in the UK or Australia anytime soon, what with the chip shortage and the lengthy waiting list. If you just have to have a Spotify Car Thing, click the 'Put me on the list' button here

Elsewhere, the Swedish music streaming giant has said it will launch Spotify HiFi, it's long-anticipated entry into CD-quality streaming, this year.

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Tom has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Men's Health, ShortList, The Sun, The Mail on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include mobile tech, electric cars and video streaming.