Music is a core form of entertainment while on the road, but Spotify has been shuffling its car strategy up as of late. Now, just a week after releasing its “Car Thing” hardware to the public, Spotify is pulling support for in-car head units from Pioneer and other brands.

As confirmed on Spotify’s forums recently (via SlashGear), the Spotify app on Android and iOS has done away with support for in-car head units from brands including JVC-Kenwood and Pioneer.

Spotify explains:

We can confirm that support for Pioneer and JVC-Kenwood car audio head units has been deprecated. This means it will no longer be possible to launch the built-in Spotify app from the interface, but you should still be able to play audio from your mobile devices via Bluetooth or through a USB cable.

This isn’t really a loss for cars that support Android Auto or CarPlay, where Spotify offers an official app, but it is a loss especially for older cars that rely on smaller infotainment units that have limited displays. Pioneer showcases how Spotify could integrate with one of its smaller “single DIN” units in the video below. The integration went beyond the simple track titles and controls to offer feature such as like/dislike, and creating radio stations based on the current track/playlist all from the head unit itself. You can see this all in action around the three-minute mark in the video below.

Even with this support removed, Spotify will still be able to play audio through these head units.

Spotify’s removal of this feature was pretty much silent, catching users off guard as a result. This isn’t the only sudden removal of a car-related feature Spotify has made in recent months, though. In November of last year, Spotify suddenly announced that it would “retire” its in-app “Car View” mode from its Android and iOS apps. That mode offered a car-optimized interface for controlling music on the go, cutting out distractions on the screen. As of March 2022, Spotify still shows settings for Car View in its Android app, but the feature doesn’t work anymore.

In a cruel bit of irony, both of these features were stripped from the Spotify app around the same time as the company has been launching its “Car Thing” device, which has a custom interface for controlling Spotify while in the car. The device costs $90.

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Ben Schoon

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