How to play Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music, Deezer and more in your car for under $12

The automotive industry is lagging behind the rest of the technology world, it always has. We moved on from CDs years ago, first to downloads such as from the iTunes Store and then onto streaming services from the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music, Deezer, and more. We will show you how you can have all this music, in your car, wirelessly.

You can already listen to these services on your computer or phone, or stream wirelessly to your speakers via Bluetooth or TV via a Chromecast.

So why can’t you do this in your car? If you’re purchasing a new car you may be lucky and find that it has Apple’s CarPlay or Google’s Android Auto built in. If so, stop reading now and go explore this option.

For the rest of us we don’t have this option. My car just has a standard CD player. But there are still brilliant options which stream music from your (or your passenger’s) phone. In addition, if you use apps such as Apple Maps or Google Maps for navigation you’ll have both Spotify and your navigation instructions through the car speakers. So, your three options are:

  1. Plug in. If you can find the aux in or line in of your car stereo you can plug your phone’s headphone port into this. You’ll need a cable with a headphone plug on one end and, depending on your stereo, another headphone plug or a pair of red and white plugs. See these links as examples:

    The problem with this though, is that the cables become dangerous and they can get caught up in the car. Also your passengers in the back will struggle to join in.

  2. Bluetooth. This is our recommended option. With this you wirelessly pair your phone over Bluetooth to the car and then play audio over the car’s speakers. Anyone in your car can pair up and there will be no dangerous wires draped across the car. In this setup your phone is the transmitter so you’ll need a Bluetooth receiver which plugs in to that aux port you found. These cost less than $16, and are a brilliant solution that everyone can join in with. We’ve tested this model which plugged straight into the aux socket in our car and paired immediately to our iPhone.
  3. FM transmitter. If you can’t locate the aux port on your stereo then neither of the above options are going to work for you. However, I’ve yet to come across a car that does not have an FM radio, so you still have an option. What you need is an FM transmitted that plugs into the headphone socket of your phone, which you set to broadcast on a particular FM frequency (be sure to select one that doesn’t clash with an actual radio station in your area). You then tune your car stereo to this radio station and you’ll have your music. If you are on a long drive you may need to adjust the broadcast frequency if you clash with a local radio station. You’ll need something like this:

With one of these three options, you’ll be streaming music over your car stereo with very little cash or time invested.

Spotify Subscription Options

Spotify was launched in 2008 and is now the leading provider of streaming music.  Gone are the days of buying CDs or even downloading music via stores such as iTunes.  Spotify has a massively comprehensive library of content that is played instantly – assuming that you are online you wouldn’t even know that you don’t own the music.  Here are just a few reasons to use Spotify:

  • The world’s music instantly available
  • Play on almost any device: Mac, PC, iPhone, Android, iPad, Windows Phone and more
  • Play in your car with Car Play enabled stereos, over Bluetooth or by plugging into the aux connector from your phone
  • Play offline (with no web connection) with a premium subscription
  • Create playlists to organise your favorite music
  • Find new music with Spotify radio which creates your own radio station based on music you already like
  • Share music with friends and get recommendations

Spotify comes with three subscription types:

  1.  Free.  With this subscription there is no monthly fee, it is completely free. However your listening will be interrupted every now and again for ads to be played, and there are some restriction on how much/often you can listen to music.
  2. Premium.  This is the main subscription which gives ad free, high quality listening. You can save music to your device for offline listening so that you can listen to your music without a wifi or mobile data connection. This monthly fee varies by region, but is $9.99 in the USA and £9.99 in the UK.
  3. Family.  This offers discounts (up to 50%) for families. Each person gets to keep their own playlists and music separately, however there is one discounted monthly bill.

Spotify makes a big deal of bundling Spotify subscriptions via 3rd parties and these can often be very lucrative deals.  Check in your country for offers available to you, however as a example in the UK the following are available:

  1. Sunday Times.  The Sunday Times offers an online subscription which gives you access to The Sunday Times on the web and via their iPad application and also gives 1 year of free Spotify premium access.  This deal is actually cheaper than buying a premium subscription directly from spotify.
  2. Vodafone.  Subscribers to certain Vodafone pay monthly contracts get a free subscription to Spotify Premium as part of their mobile contract.

In the USA there are various offers, but owners of a Google Chromecast can access free Spotify Premium.

You can download Spotify for your iPhone at the following link:

Download the Spotify app for iPhone