If you’re a Spotify subscriber, streaming music in your car is about to become less intuitive and full of angry tapping, now that Spotify is retiring Car View. The driver-friendly interface is disappearing, as Giz reports, and the move looks especially suspicious because it’s happening around the same time as the rollout of the company’s Car Thing. It’s not a good look for Spotify.
The company had officially confirmed that Car View was going away earlier this year, as reported by the Verge, but the announcement was not broadcast in a way that would have warned as many users as possible. The official Spotify announcement appeared on a support forum after a user reported the feature was missing.
It’s been a slow phase-out. The Car View feature is still currently on iPhone and is still mentioned on the company’s instructions for streaming music in the car, where it describes the Car View interface as a specific driving mode:
You’ll see larger, driver-friendly icons in the Now Playing view on your phone, and you’ll also be able to quickly change songs with the Choose Music icon at the bottom of the screen.
And all of that was true. Car View made using the app so much easier with its oversized icons and sparse command inputs. It decluttered the app and screen, and offered a decent way to make your smartphone less of a distraction in the car. There was no album art, just big, clear text and a few buttons. It was simple but effective. I don’t know how the company plans to improve on it.
Spotify says that’s what it’s trying to do, but it doesn’t really look like there’s a good reason to eliminate the feature altogether while the company is improving in-car use. Spotify even claimed killing Car View is necessary for “innovation:”
This however doesn’t mean we don’t want to improve on how our users listen to Spotify while driving. On the contrary, we’re actively exploring a variety of new ways to deliver the best in-car listening experience. Think of retiring car-view as something that needs to happen in an effort to make way for new innovations coming down the track.
Again, it sounds like that innovation is coming in the form of an $80.00 accessory, locked behind a Spotify Premium subscription.
I’m working through a review of the Car Thing where I’ll dig into the hardware and what it’s like to use on a daily basis, but I can tell you right now that the hardware is not necessary to enjoy Spotify in the car. At the very least, it was way less necessary when Car View was still a freely available alternative. Both Car View and the Car Thing easily existed alongside each other until now.