Now, when you book a car, the vehicle can show up with your favorite tunes already blaring out the speakers before you’ve even sat down.
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It will be launching in compatible cars starting from November 21, in 10 cities initially – London, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Mexico City, Nashville, Singapore, Stockholm, Toronto and Sydney. The feature will be landing in other international markets in the weeks that follow.
To use the service, you’ll need to hook up your Spotify account to your Uber profile and, if you’re allocated a car that’s Spotify-enabled, you can control the virtual wheels of steel and ensure you no longer have to endure the driver’s questionable taste in tunes.
There will be curated playlists made available too should you so wish, though there is no obligation to choose them.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick hosted a global press call at 3PM GMT today, where he confirmed details of the partnership.
“For Uber we’re trying to always create a highly-evolved experience, the opposite of course which is the taxi world that came before us,” explained Kalanick, who went on to paint a painful picture of someone waving their arm around in the pouring rain.
Spotify has been steadily adding support for cars for a while already, so in many ways this tie-up with Uber makes a lot of sense. Not only does it bring added value for Spotify subscribers, but it now means those who use Uber have more control over their in-car experience.
“The world is moving to having cars on demand, and Spotify is all about having music on demand,” says Spotify’s Daniel Ek. “Having Spotify available in your Uber car, we think, takes Spotify to the next level. Imagine you’re going to a party on a Friday night, you can choose which music is playing to get you in the mood.”
That said, it will be opt-in from a driver’s perspective – if the driver decides they don’t want to offer it, then they don’t have to. Though Kalanick says he’s seen a positive response from drivers so far, and ultimately drivers can control the volume if death metal really isn’t their thing.
It must be noted here, however, that there is perhaps a little scope for tensions to bubble over between drivers and riders. It’s one thing asking a driver to change the music or turn it down a bit, but taking on full control may not sit well with everyone, especially if they stand to get negative feedback from a rider for failing to comply.
While it does face regional competition around the world, Uber is emerging as the super heavyweight champion in the digital taxi wars. Fresh from a $1.2 billion funding round that valued the company at $17 billion, Uber has been using its financial might to battle a number of legislative hurdles with local taxi bodies, however an aggressive expansion program has seen it gain significant mindshare, with the service now available in hundreds of cities spread across almost 50 countries.
You can connect your Spotify account to your Uber dashboard now through the Web, though the feature won’t be open for business until Friday, November 21.
Meanwhile, check out the official promo skit below.