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Spotify lets passengers fight over your road trip playlist, disturbing natural order of universe

Spotify lets passengers fight over your road trip playlist, disturbing natural order of universe


Starting with the Android Automotive-powered Polestar 2

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Polestar / Beadyeye

It’s a fundamental rule of the road: driver picks the music.

And yet, in a brazen challenge to the immutable laws of the universe, Spotify has chosen to meddle with this golden rule by expanding its Group Session beta to cars. Starting today, up to six people in the car can all control music at the same time, starting with the Android Automotive-powered Polestar 2.

“We all know that sometimes the driver doesn’t have the best taste in music and my family tends to agree. The addition of Group Sessions Beta from Spotify is a great way for others in the vehicle to influence the playlist and enjoy their favorite tracks,” commented Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath, a man who clearly cannot be trusted with playlist powers.

Group Session rolled out last year as a beta and is limited to Spotify premium subscribers; once a host starts a session, up to five other users can join, giving them full (shared) control over the playlist and the power to play, pause, and skip tracks at will. And sure, it’s a useful feature when you’re hanging out with friends in the low-stakes environments of a barbecue or a dinner party.

Fortunately, there are safeguards: the driver will still apparently have the power to revoke access at any time (because, again, driver picks the music!). But when it comes the delicate balance of an hourslong road trip, Spotify is still playing with fire here. Do you really want to risk your friend bombarding you with Nickelback songs every other track for the entire drive to Pittsburgh?

That said, the potential descent into carpool chaos is limited, for now. The expanded Group Session beta is only available in the Polestar 2 — currently the only car on the market that runs Android Automotive — but presumably, as Google’s smart car platform continues to arrive on more cars in the future, it’ll be more broadly available.