You’ll soon be able to banish the radio in your next Uber ride. The ridesharing service is partnering with Spotify to allow riders to play their own music playlists during their trips, the companies announced Monday. Uber and Spotify users will have access to their Spotify accounts from within the Uber app, giving them complete control to blare their own tunes out of their Uber car’s speakers.
“It’s the first time we’ve personalized the experience inside the car,” Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said in a conference call.
The new feature will roll out on Friday in 10 cities, including New York, Los Angeles and London. Kalanick said the feature would be optional for drivers to implement, but he expects many to do so in an effort to please customers. He said he doesn’t expect drivers to get too frustrated being subject to the musical whims of their riders. “People get in the car all the time and ask, ‘Hey can you turn to this [radio] station,” he said. “I haven’t seen drivers have too much of a problem with that.”
For Spotify, the new partnership offers a chance to gain more traction as a competitor to the radio dial. Cars are one of the most popular places for listening to music, but it’s an experience still dominated by FM and AM radio. “The world is moving to having cars on demand wherever you are, and Spotify is having your music on demand wherever you are,” Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said.
The feature will only be available to Spotify Premium users, who pay $9.99 per month for the music service. Uber will provide a week of free Spotify Premium service to users when they take their first “music ride” using the feature. Eventually the companies to plan to roll their offering out globally. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
To promote the new partnership, Uber and Spotify are planning a series of live performances and surprise ride-alongs by music stars such as Andrew W.K. and Diplo.
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