Spotify’s busy with podcasts – but it hasn’t given up on launching hardware

It’s been so long since we heard something about Spotify launching its own hardware, you might have assumed Daniel Ek‘s company just gave up on the idea. Not so.

According to a new job ad spotted by MBW, Spotify is still chipping away at its own physical audio tech and is currently hiring for a new Stockholm-based Head of Hardware Commercial Development.

Spotify also explains in the ad that, at present, the company is concentrating its hardware “efforts in the automotive area”.

Spotify first made clear its intention to develop its own hardware back in February 2018 when it advertised for an Operations Manager – Hardware Product.

In January last year, a Financial Times report suggested that Spotify was building an in-car music player in tandem with multinational hardware development company Flex. That report suggested that the device was scheduled for release later in the year.

In May 2019, Spotify published a blog post in which it revealed that was indeed testing a voice-controlled, in-car audio device in the US, which it called the ‘Car Thing’.

At the time, Spotify said that the test would be carried out in the US only, “with a small group of invited Spotify Premium users”.

Then, in January this year, MBW spotted that Spotify was advertising for an experienced Stockholm-based UI Designer to support the company’s Hardware Products (see below).

This person would join what the ad described as “the Car Mountain Bet,” and would be required to work “to create frictionless and innovative Spotify experiences via hardware products”.

Spotify did not respond to MBW’s request for further information about what exactly the mysterious Car Mountain Bet was.

The UI designer, the ad continued, will “work closely with our Hardware, Technology and Content teams to build end user experiences for music and podcasts in order to deliver the optimal Spotify experience to millions of users”.

According to the new ad (for the Head of Hardware Commercial Development), the successful applicant “will play a key role in defining Spotify’s commercial hardware strategy”.

They will also be required to “lead implementation pricing framework with internal teams & partners”.

This person will also need to have at least five years’ work experience in business development positions or pricing of consumer products, five years’  hands-on experience in business modelling, as well as a history of strong leadership in driving commercial development.

Tellingly, considering the previous US-focused test of “the Car Thing”, this person will need to have “a good understanding of the US market, it’s demographics and habits”.

As Spotify stated in its blog post year: “Americans spend 70 billion hours behind the wheel each year. That’s a lot of time spent on the road. So what you do—and what you listen to—to help you get through those long hours in the car matters.

“That’s why Spotify is trying to learn more about people’s listening habits and preferences to help create an unparalleled experience for our users.”

The new hire will report to Spotify’s Head of Hardware Products, who according to LinkedIn, is Andreas Cedborg, who was promoted to this role in September 2017.

While we’re on the subject of Spotify’s current hardware-focused employees, here’s an interesting one: Matt Barvesten, Spotify’s Product Director, Hardware Products, previously worked at Beijing-based, Chinese owned-tech company Huawei.

Barvesten worked at Huawei for eight years, and was the company’s Vice President, Handsets Product Line prior to joining Spotify.Music Business Worldwide

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