What’s the #1 feature of a Tesla Model S or Model X. Perhaps the acceleration? Perhaps the amazing navigation and software controls? Perhaps the super smooth and quiet drive? Maybe it’s Autopilot?
Or wait, maybe it’s the Easter eggs!
Alas, it’s none of those, according to the driver of the world’s first Tesla hearse. He loves the car, loves the smooth & quiet ride, clearly enjoys the super quick acceleration, and appreciates the premium interior quality of the car, but he especially loves one feature above all else — Spotify.
I thought that was pretty hilarious, and interesting, especially since I didn’t really know what Spotify was at the time. But it wasn’t the only time I was to hear that Spotify was at the top of the features list. The three main founders of Tesla Shuttle are electric, cleantech evangelists — we are trying to do our bit to save a world that seems to be baking and polluting itself to death. We can’t be trusted to judge a Tesla like a typical human. Our wives are a bit more normal. Surprised for a second time, I found out from one of these cofounders that his wife’s favorite feature is also Spotify. She was thrilled when she found out the car had it.
I don’t know much about Spotify versus its competitors. It is nice to be able to find practically any song you can think of. On the other hand, I’m typically not that happy with the songs that follow the one I searched out. Maybe I’m just weird. However, YouTube and other musical programs I’ve used over the years seem to do a better job of rolling into other sings that I like after the one I searched out. I’m also a little irritated when using Spotify that if I get one letter or word wrong in an artist’s or song’s name, Spotify can’t figure out what I’m looking for. Alas, my memory is not what it was when I was 20, but it just seems a bit weird that Spotify can be so useless in this arena when YouTube and Google are so freakin’ good.
Anyhow, Spotify’s definitely a nice feature, and it’s the #1 feature for some people — despite all the other benefits and sweet features of a Tesla.
In the United States, my understanding is that people are not as thrilled with the music services. Slacker and TuneIn (a streaming radio service which is also in the European cars) are the basic options in the US, aside from connecting your own USB or connecting your phone via Bluetooth. Regarding the latter, a helpful Tesla owner clarifies the downside: “Using via bluetooth is fine but the bit rate (quality) of music via bluetooth is much slower than if you can get it from the built-in application of the car. By its nature, bluetooth is not able to support the transmission of lossless music but your built-in application of your car can.” (Update: a reader notes that the difference in sound between in-navigation Spotify and bluetooth-connected Spotify probably isn’t noticeable for most humans.)
Regarding Slacker vs Spotify, I can’t comment from a user’s perspective, but many people have a strong preference for Spotify. Here’s a comment from one such person on that same forum thread: “I’m dying to use my Spotify Premium in the car. I tried the Slacker premium service to see if it was comparable and its not comparable at all. For now I’m using bluetooth but it really sucks to not be able to just pick Spotify.”
There had reportedly been discussions about offering Spotify in the United States, but those seemed to hit a brick wall. Last year, there were also rumors that Tesla is developing its own in-house streaming service. However, given the challenges Tesla has had rolling out some basic software for the Model 3 and getting Tesla Autopilot to the point it was aiming to have it at by now, I’m thinking it might take a while to get that into customers’ hands.
So, if you’re living in North America and really want a Tesla with high-quality sound and Spotify, it seems you’re just going to have to move to Europe.
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