Taxi-sharing app Uber and music-streaming app Spotify are teaming up so passengers can listen to their own music choices during rides, trying to link the online with the real world.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Spotify CEO Daniel Ek made the announcement during on a conference call with reporters on Monday, touting the seamless service if users link their two accounts.
“For Uber, it’s the first time we have personalized the experience inside the car. For music lovers, that’s nirvana,” said Kalanick, adding the service launches on Friday in 10 cities including New York, London, Stockholm, Sydney and Toronto.
Ek added that most people listen to Spotify in three ways – in one’s home, on the go, and in the car. “We thought what about the next generation transportation system, so Uber is an obvious fit for us,” Ek said. “We think it takes the Spotify experience to the next level.”
It also targets a younger audience including millennials who may not own their cars but are gravitating to the Uber service.
The companies declined to disclose the financial terms of the partnership, refusing to say whether there would be revenue sharing, saying only it would benefit both companies.
The move is another attempt by Uber — which bills itself as a technology company and not a taxi company — to prove its service is more than just getting customers from point A to point B.
User must be subscribers to Spotify’s premium service to access their individual playlist or they can use a city playlist complied by Uber staff in those cities.
Ek promised trial offers would be available to people who want to try out the music streaming service.
Uber and UberX drivers have the option to decline joining the program, but if they do, then if a user wants the Spotify service when hailing an Uber driver, then their car won’t show up in the app.
Drivers would need to connect their Uber phone to their car audio system.
Kalanick dismissed suggestion that enabling music in Uber cars might result in tensions between drivers and customers over certain tastes.
“If somebody comes in with death metal, and wants it really loud, the good thing is the driver has control over how loud that going to be,” he said, adding the company will watch to see how it rolls out in the coming weeks.
He promised that Uber would make adjustments if it sees tension points.
“Remember, people get into cars all the time and ask, ‘Hey, can you turn it on this station,’” Kalanick said. “This may be a higher fidelity approach to picking the music you want.”