March 1, 2013 at 11:05 am

Spotify Adds Voice, Steering Wheel Control in Ford SYNC Cars


spotfiy ford sync

Since Spotify‘s U.S. launch in July 2011, the Swedish-based company has continuously grown, quickly becoming one of the biggest music streaming services in the country. Beginning as a desktop app, Spotify expanded its reach with Facebook and mobile apps and compatibility with various other consumer electronics.

So what’s next for Spotify and its quest for world domination? Looks like the service is making its move towards in-car accessibility, making the service more “mobile” than ever.

Earlier this week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spotify and Ford announced that they had signed a deal to bring the music streaming service to select Ford vehicles that feature the automobile company’s SYNC AppLink platform.

First launched in 2007, Ford SYNC AppLink lets drivers connect their smartphones to their vehicles. Drivers operate apps using voice controls so that they may keep their hands on the steering wheel and eyes on the road. For those who don’t feel the need to communicate verbally with their electronics, AppLink also includes steering wheel controls that work with the apps. Currently, about one million Ford vehicles in North America are equipped with the feature, and it now supports 21 music apps, including Spotify (full list below).

Ford’s Spotify integration will allow drivers to access the music streaming service by operating the Spotify app on their connected mobile phone, once they update the app. However, users will need a premium account in order to take advantage of this new integration. Apparently, cars fall into the same category as phones, tablets, televisions, and set-top boxes, in that unlike traditional computers, they cannot access the free version of Spotify.

Ford SYNC AppLink already supports various music services, including Pandora, Amazon Cloud Player, Slacker (including the on-demand version), Rhapsody, and others, so Spotify is by no means the first on-demand music service to use the system. The first on-demand music in the car was MOG on the BMW Mini at SXSW 2011.

“Spotify is a terrific addition to the SYNC AppLink ecosystem helping add even more value to the experience of driving a Ford for both new and existing customers,” said Paul Mascarenas, chief technical officer and vice president, Ford Motor Company, during the announcement of the collaboration at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

Here’s the full, current list of apps that you can control in these nine Ford cars (click the Availability button), from the steering wheel, or with your voice. It’s kind of weird to see all these local FM radio stations in the mix alongside Spotify, MOG, Rhapsody and the rest, but any developer can create Ford SYNC AppLink apps now, using the API the company announced earlier this year:

  • 105.5 WDHA
  • 1.5.7 WROR
  • Aha Radio (Harman)
  • Amazon Cloud Player
  • BEN-FM 95.7
  • Country 102.5
  • iHeartAuto (iHeartRadio)
  • Magic 107
  • MOG
  • Pandora
  • Rhapsody
  • Slacker
  • Spotify
  • TuneIn
  • WBOS 92.9
  • WCSX 94.7
  • WMGC 105.1
  • WMGK 102.9 FM
  • WMMR 93.3
  • WRAT 95.9
  • WRIF 101.1