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Spotify moves into cars with Uber partnership

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Spotify CEO Daniel Ek.Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Spotify CEO Daniel Ek.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick (left) and Spotify CEO Daniel Ek.Courtesy of Spotify

It’s a new week for Spotify, and the streaming music service is eager to move the narrative away from Taylor Swift.

The pop star recently pulled her entire catalog from the streaming music service, calling the company’s business model a “grand experiment.” It kicked off a flurry of questions about the viability of Spotify’s business. Swift appeared on both the covers of Bloomberg Businessweek and Time last week. Understandably, Spotify would prefer we talked about anything but Taylor Swift today.

On a conference call this morning, Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek announced the company has partnered with Uber, the on-demand car service, to provide its music streaming services inside Uber vehicles. Uber customers can control the music during their car ride from their phone. Both the Spotify and Uber apps will promote the service.

“One of the big things is, ‘How do we get into the car, and how do we truly how do we get into that space and allow people to play their music?’ Ek said. “Instead of doing car integrations, we think about, ‘What is the next generation of transportation systems?’”

Ek said Spotify continues to seek partnerships with automakers that would put its app into in-dashboard operating systems. But many younger people are skipping out on buying their own car altogether, thanks to on-demand car services such as Uber, Lyft and others. “This is a way to reach a younger, more millennial audience in cities who are taking up Uber in droves,” he said.

Ek and Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick declined to comment on whether the partnership would involve any financial elements, such as revenue-sharing. “For Uber, its just sexy and interesting and fun for our users to bring everything into the car,” Kalanick said.

The launch begins in select cities — London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Nashville, New York, San Francisco, Singapore, Stockholm, Toronto and Sydney — on Friday, and will be rolled out globally in the coming months. It’s only available through Spotify’s premium service, which users access for a monthly subscription fee or a free seven-day trial via the Uber app.