Uber and Spotify announce collaboration

By Rachel Kerr, Daily Arts Writer
Published November 23, 2014

Every time I get into an Uber, the first thing out of my mouth is always: “Do you have an aux cord?” And while I do enjoy badgering my driver about music, now I’ll no longer have to.

Announced last Monday, a new partnership between Spotify and Uber will allow Spotify premium account holders to stream their music through the Uber app.

If you’re unfamiliar with Uber — do you live in the 21st century? — the company launched in 2010 and introduced us to a more personalized taxi service, one in which drivers were easily accessible and knew your name before you even got in the car. It also got rid of the inconvenience of carrying around cash for a cab, as well as the “how much do I tip?” dilemma, by charging users directly through their smartphone, tip included.

And, the experience just became even more personalized. Now, when “calling” an Uber through the app, those who pay $10-a-month ($5 if you’re a student) for a Spotify premium account will be able to choose what music will play on the ride, as long as the car is “Spotify-enabled.”

Spotify is a music service that allows anyone to instantly stream endless amounts of songs and albums from their database. It’s available to all account holders on a computer, and, if you’re one of millions who pays for a premium account, you also have access to unlimited streaming on your phone. And now, during your Uber rides, too.

There are a few catches, though.

It’s not available in Ann Arbor. Yet. The feature, which just launched on Nov. 21, is starting out in select cities, including Los Angeles, Toronto and New York.

The service is also optional for the driver. Meaning, if they don’t want to listen to French Montana, you can’t make them listen to French Montana. Granted, you can express your dissatisfaction by giving the driver a bad review, but that doesn’t change the fact that you didn’t get to listen to French Montana.

You also can’t control the volume; sadly, that is still dictated by the driver. So, while I’ll no longer be asking if they have an aux cord, I sure as hell will continue to ask them to please turn the music up.

The announcement comes shortly after Taylor Swift pulled the entirety of her discography from Spotify, including her wildly popular new album 1989. Enraged fans wanted to know why. Apparently, Spotify refused Swift’s request to allow only premium account holders access to her music. She responded by not allowing any Spotify account holder to have access to her music, citing the disparity between royalties from the paid account and those from the free service as her reason.

This new feature, though, could give many people the incentive to drop the extra cash for a premium account, which would in turn, lead to higher royalties for artists using Spotify. Maybe Swift will even put her music back up! If not, I didn’t really want to listen to 1989 anyway.