Hacking the Spotify Car Thing

With the news of Spotify bricking their Car Thing, now is the time to hack it. Spotify released a statement suggesting Car Thing owners reset to factory settings and safely dispose following local electronic waste guidelines. Seems like a pretty big waste, and maybe illegal?

The community is begging for Spotify to unlock the Thing for easy modding as noted by ArsTechnica:

As of this writing, there are over 50 posts on the Spotify Community forums showing concern about the discontinuation, with many demanding a refund and/or calling for open-sourcing. There are similar discussions happening elsewhere online, like on Reddit, where users have used phrases like “entirely unnacceptable” to describe the news.

Until then Hackaday has some hacks you can try right now:

The car-thing-reverse-engineering repository on GitHub has a wealth of hardware and software information, and has been something of a rallying point for others who have been poking around inside the device. Unsurprisingly, the Car Thing runs Linux and with relatively minor work you can gain U-Boot and UART access.

If you’re more into the step-by-step approach, security researcher [Nolen Johnson] did a write-up about getting access to the Car Thing’s internal Linux system back in 2022 that’s certainly worth a look. As you’d imagine, there’s also a few YouTube videos out there that walk the viewer through gaining access to the hardware. This one from [Dinosaur Talks Tech] not only provides a good overview of how to get into the system, but covers flashing modified versions of the stock firmware to unlock various features and tweaking the internal Linux OS.

See more:


Spotify to Brick Its Own “Car Thing” Device, Won’t Offer Refunds – Pitchfork

“Unacceptable”: Spotify bricking Car Thing devices in Dec. without refunds – ArsTechnica

Spotify offers Car Thing refunds as it faces lawsuit over bricking the streaming device – TechCrunch

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