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Uber upgrades Pandora, Spotify integration for riders

Subscribers to Pandora or Spotify Premimum can now seamlessly play their music during Uber rides

Technology trends and news by Ronny Kerr
September 8, 2016 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/471a

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Sometimes you get into your Uber and the driver’s listening to David Bowie, and everything is hunky-dory. But other times you find yourself sitting in traffic with three dudes awkwardly (yet reverently) listening to Justin Bieber… and you wish you could do something about it.

Uber has your back.

In an announcement today, Uber doubled down on its technology allowing riders to play music from either their Pandora or Spotify accounts, something the ridesharing company has experimented with for the past couple years.

For the service to work, the driver has to have enabled “connected music,” which means that the driver’s phone is somehow connected to the vehicle’s stereo system, be it through Bluetooth, USB, or an auxiliary (AUX) cord. Once connected, the rider simply logs into their music app of choice and starts playing tunes. Users subscribed to Spotify Premium can play individual songs on-demand while Pandora users can preview the driver’s station and decide if they want to change it.

“Rider Music,” as Uber has dubbed this feature, only works on iOS at the moment, though Android support will be coming later. Additionally, the Pandora integration only works in Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S., whereas the Spotify integration works in all 59 markets where Spotify is available.

Today’s announcement comes just a couple months after Uber announced a promotion allowing its drivers to enjoy Pandora free of ads until the end of this year. Starting on December 29, drivers will start hearing ads if they don’t sign up for paid Pandora subscriptions.

Back in 2014 it was reported that Uber and Spotify were working together to allow riders to play music during the duration of their trips. More recently, Uber at the beginning of this year launched Uber Trip Experiences, an expansion to its application program interface (API) that would allow a third-party service like Spotify to, say, generate a 20-minute playlist for your 20-minute ride. There’s been no word so far whether Spotify has built that integration yet.

Lyft, on the other hand, hasn’t made any public announcements to launch similar music-tech integrations.

As for the scenario I described where you’re stuck in an uberPOOL listening to Justin Bieber with a bunch of randos, you’re still out of luck. A spokesperson for Uber confirmed for me:

“Rider music is available in all products but carpool rides. We’re thinking about the best way to build an awesome uberPOOL music experience and will keep you posted on that.”

I guess they don’t want passengers fighting over the music, since they’re already at odds over who gets dropped off first.

Ed. note: Our 6th Annual Vator Splash LA conference is coming up on October 13 at the Loews Hotel in Santa Monica. Speakers include Mark Cuban (one of the hosts of Shark Tank and owner of the Dallas Mavericks); Brian Lee (Founder & CEO, Honest Company); Leura Fine (Founder & CEO, Laurel & Wolf ); Nick Green (Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Thrive Market); Tri Tran (CEO & Co-founder, Munchery); Adam Goldenberg (Founder & CEO, JustFab); Andre Haddad (CEO, Turo); Mike Jones (Founder, Science) and many more. Join us! REGISTER HERE.


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