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It Looks Like Uber Drivers Are Already Dreading The New Spotify Partnership

“I can see these entitled pax… giving me a 1-3star rating just because I didn’t let them ‘turn-up'”

It Looks Like Uber Drivers Are Already Dreading The New Spotify Partnership
[Photo:Flickr user Kevin D]

As rumored, Uber and Spotify are teaming up to allow riders to play their own music. Starting November 21, users in 10 cities—which so far include Los Angeles, New York, London, San Francisco, Mexico City, Nashville, Singapore, Stockholm, Toronto, and Sydney—will be able to fire up artists who are not named Taylor Swift on their phones.

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Which is a fun little thing for customers. But it looks like Uber drivers might not be too happy about the news. UberPeople.net is a pseudo-anonymous forum where ride-share drivers gather to kvetch about their problems: Drunk passengers, how to deal with low ratings, gun recommendations. Normal driver stuff.

In a post by a member named Pascal O., he outlines a few of the reasons why Spotify integration with the Uber app for passengers (or “pax,” per the forum’s parlance) is, in his estimation, likely a bad idea. (Since these are unedited forum posts, sic throughout):

I can see it now:

pax: “Hey (driver’s name), I want to play my music in your car, do you have an aux”
driver: no sir/ma’am, but I have the radio if you like
pax: never mind (then the pax gives the driver a 1-star) 

In another scenario, since I do happen to have an aux in my 2011 Honda accord, I can see these entitled pax asking me to turn up the volume to their favorite song to a level I am not comfortable driving w/ and then giving me a 1-3star rating just because I didn’t let them “turn-up” (this means party really loud) 

You can see the headlines now. Pascal O., however, isn’t alone with his concerns. Another forum user considers the worst possible outcome:

This particular issue is the makings of a LOT of potential law suits. Bad move on Uber’s part. It’s hard enough to get the drunks home without being distracted by their perpetual disturbances and the times when one tolerates the music because of SURGE. But it is both highly distracting and annoying as all hell. Just a vehicle full of loud obnoxious drunks is punishment enough. Adding LOUD music (what’s next? Video games played at ear bursting sounds?) only adds another UNSAFE condition for the drivers.

Later that same user concedes that, under certain circumstances, loud music might actually be a blessing in disguise:

I try to mind my own business and that seems to foster a pax mindset that they can talk about anything. I’d be ashamed to have anyone hear the kinds of conversations I’ve heard. These people have no self respect whatsoever. That’s part of why I’d consider music even if semi-loud to be kind of a driver blessing.

Another forum poster thinks it wouldn’t be too much of a problem if Uber allowed for in-app tipping, like Lyft:

All of these are services that should be rewarded with tips. Do this for your Lyft riders and the tips will likely be significantly higher. Fuck your Uber riders who have no option to tip and do NOT offer any of these services.

If you get emails from Uber about this new Spotify option, reply to them that when they add in-app tipping you will be happy to offer additional services.

Take these with a grain of salt. We can’t confirm that these curmudgeonly forum posters are actual Uber drivers, but they do raise some salient points. Try to be considerate of your drivers, you guys.

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About the author

Chris is a staff writer at Fast Company, where he covers business and tech. He has also written for The Week, TIME, Men's Journal, The Atlantic, and more.

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