Uber has partnered with music streaming site Spotify to give users the ability to choose the music played during their taxi journey, as the ride-sharing app looks to differentiate its offer in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
From Friday (21 November) Uber customers who have a premium account with Spotify will be able to link their playlists to the Uber app and select the music they want to hear when they get in a taxi.
Speaking on a global conference call, CEO Travis Kalanick said the new partnership will mark the first time Uber has been able to offer its users a personalised experience.
“For Uber we’re trying to always create highly evolving experiences, the opposite of which of course is the taxi world that came before it.
“Now I can get in [an Uber] and my music is playing. And for Uber it’s the first time we’ve personalised the experience inside the car and for music lovers that is Nirvana, it’s a really awesome place to be.”
The functionality will be available in 10 cities initially, including London, Stockholm and Singapore, and those users who link their accounts on Friday will have access to a live music event in their participating city.
For Spotify, said its founder and CEO Daniel Ek, the partnership will allow the music site to kick of ambitions to own the in-car experience and build on its success at home and on the go.
“With Spotify there are really three main places that people listen to music. It’s in their home, on the go and in their car. So far Spotify has done a great job in the home, and on the go with our mobile apps and laptop apps, but one of the big things for us is how do we get into the car? And how do we, given that people’s average commute time is 30 minutes to an hour, get in to that space and allow people to play their music?”
Rather than create an integrated dashboard experience for car owners, Ek decided that Spotify needed to look at the “next generation of transportation systems” of on-demand cars and called Uber the “perfect fit”.
On Friday night all those who have linked their accounts in the 10 cities will be invited to a launch party with live musical performances, as both brands look to “connect the online with the offline”. Additionally a small number of users will be picked up by a taxi and share a ride with one of the artists performing.
While Kalanick was coy when asked about revenues and financial details of the partnership, he admitted that the deal will be beneficial for both brands as the companies cross-promote each other on their respective websites and apps.
“There will be a way for a user to link their account to a Spotify account and there is a natural promotional element to it,” he said. “There’s other things that are fun too, every city will have a playlist baked into the experience, so you can choose your own experience or choose an existing experience.”
The partnership will eventually be rolled out across wider markets, with Uber drivers not required to enable the service.