In 2019, Spotify began testing a hardware device for automobile owners. It was lovingly dubbed “Car Thing,” which allowed Spotify Premium users to play music and podcasts using voice commands that began with “Hey, Spotify.” Last year, Spotify started to develop a similar voice integration into its mobile app. Now, access to the “Hey Spotify” voice feature is rolling out more broadly.
Spotify chose not to officially announce the new addition, despite numerous reports indicating the voice option was showing up for many people in their Spotify app, leading to some user confusion about availability.
One early report by GSM Arena, for example, indicated Android users had been sent a push notification that alerted them to the feature. The notification advised users to “Just enable your mic and say, ‘Hey Spotify, Play my Favorite Songs.” When tapped, the notification launched Spotify’s new voice interface where users are pushed first to give the app permission to use the microphone to request the music they want to hear verbally.
The screen that appears suggests in big, bold text that you could be saying “Hey Spotify, play…” followed by a random artist’s name. It also presents a big green button at the bottom to turn on “Hey Spotify.”
Once enabled, you can ask for artists, albums, songs, and playlists by name, as well as control playback with commands like stop, pause, skip this song, go back, and others. Spotify confirms the order with a robotic-sounding male voice by default. (You can swap to a female voice in Settings if you prefer.)
This screen also alerts users that when the app hears the “Hey Spotify” voice command, it sends its voice data and other information to Spotify. There’s a link to Spotify policy regarding its use of voice data, which further explains that Spotify will collect recordings and transcripts of what you say along with information about the content it returned to you. The company says it may continue to use this data to improve the feature, develop new voice features, and target users with relevant advertising. It may also share your information with service providers, like cloud storage providers.