‘Car Thing’ Class Action Lawsuit Voluntarily Dismissed After Spotify Begins Issuing Refunds

Spotify killing Car Thing
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Spotify killing Car Thing
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Photo Credit: Spotify

The individuals who filed a class action complaint over Spotify’s decommissioned “Car Thing” have voluntarily put the suit “in the rearview.”

That development emerged in a terse notice of voluntary dismissal without prejudice. While the concise filing doesn’t divulge the precise reasons for the case’s conclusion, Spotify seemingly neutralized the litigation by simply offering refunds to Car Thing customers.

However, though it perhaps goes without saying given the complaint, Spotify hadn’t adopted a broad refund policy from the get-go. Amid an evidently all-encompassing effort to maximize profits, the company in late May emailed consumers about “the difficult decision to discontinue Car Thing on December 9” – with refunds off the table at the time.

Predictably, the defunct device’s users – Spotify had only cleared out remaining Car Thing units with a discount sale in 2022’s second half – were less than thrilled. The group was vocal in criticizing the move, and the class action made its way into the court not long thereafter.

As we covered, Spotify then closed out May by rethinking the position, opting instead to offer refunds to customers who’d purchased the Car Thing directly and could provide proof.

Unfortunately, the revamped policy excludes devices bought from third parties. Possibly unaware of the product’s soon-to-be-bricked status – there’s also an active Reddit page “for all things related to Spotify Car Thing hacking and development” – shoppers are still paying the better part of the Car Thing’s original $90 retail cost on Ebay.

In any event, the wider situation reflects Spotify’s above-highlighted focus on profitability and operational efficiency. Stated concisely, the presumably pricey development of other hardware doesn’t appear to be in the near-term cards for Spotify, which has, of course, been rather aggressive in shuttering the Car Thing.

Furthermore, the no-holds-barred attempt to minimize expenses is hardly ending there; the platform in March set in motion major mechanical royalties savings by classifying nearly all its plans as bundles.

Like the Car Thing discontinuation but on a much larger scale and with a comparatively far-reaching impact, that maneuvering has brought about consequences for Spotify. We’ve covered publishers’ understandable qualms (and the MLC’s legal action) in detail. But aside from Spotify’s subsequent rollout of music-only options in the U.S., the streaming platform’s own response has received comparatively little attention.

Expectedly, said response includes bolstering the legal department with additional publishing employees. During the past few weeks alone, Spotify has posted job listings for a publishing-deal financial analyst, an associate general counsel for publishing (“a highly adaptable and collaborative problem-solver with a strong music publishing background to lead our dynamic legal publishing team”), and a head of songwriter and publisher partnerships, to name just some.