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Transport / Mass transit

Soon you'll be able to inflict your terrible music on Uber drivers

A few weeks ago, we reported on this terrifying vision of the future from one of the founders of Hailo, the black cab taxi app:

As you step into the cab, the [driver] will have an idea of your likes, dislikes and interests. The in-cab media will be showing you a relevant TV channel. Or maybe you want to work, in which case you’ll be offered a quiet, undisturbed journey. Perhaps you are planning to catch-up your favourite team’s game on TV when you get home? The driver will know you don’t want to hear the score.

Well, now it looks like that dream has lurched one step closer, thanks to Hailo’s rival and yet another fancy startup company. This week, Spotify announced a partnership with Uber, whereby any Uber travellers with Spotify on their phone and a premium account will be able to choose their own playlist and play it over the car’s sound system.

The new feature will launch in ten cities including London, Sydney and Los Angeles on 21 November, and will spread, like a virus, to Uber’s remaining 40 cities soon after.

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In an utterly unsurprising twist, Business Insider reported today that Uber drivers “aren’t happy” about this development. Apparently, the service will require drivers to plug their phones into the car’s speakers using a port only available in newer cars. If passengers have been promised this service, but then can’t use it, the thinking goes, they might leave negative driver reviews which could threaten future bookings.

Uber’s CEO, Ted Kalanick, is markedly more positive about the partnership. He told journalists during a press call:

This is the first time we’ve personalised the experience inside the car. For music lovers, it’s nirvana.

For music lovers, yes. For drivers? Not so much. 


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