Is Spotify secretly building gadgets? FCC offers new evidence

What would you like Spotify to build?

Sean Hollister Senior Editor / Reviews
When his parents denied him a Super NES, he got mad. When they traded a prize Sega Genesis for a 2400 baud modem, he got even. Years of Internet shareware, eBay'd possessions and video game testing jobs after that, he joined Engadget. He helped found The Verge, and later served as Gizmodo's reviews editor. When he's not madly testing laptops, apps, virtual reality experiences, and whatever new gadget will supposedly change the world, he likes to kick back with some games, a good Nerf blaster, and a bottle of Tejava.
Sean Hollister
Sarah Tew/CNET

Hardware is a hard business (just ask Snapchat) but music subscription service Spotify doesn't seem to be shying away. As spotted by Variety, the company has now officially registered with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This is the strongest evidence yet that Spotify is secretly building a piece of consumer hardware for gadget lovers like you and me.

Mind you, all that's technically happened here is that Spotify has been granted a five-digit code -- 2AP3D -- that it can use to submit products to the FCC if it so chooses. But it's actually a huge hint: Companies don't need to register with the FCC unless they're building wireless devices, and some companies don't register if they're merely white-labeling products from another manufacturer.

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The FCC registration suggests that Spotify is designing a wireless device in-house, which lines up with a mysterious job posting from February. Is the company building its own smart speaker? Or a wearable device, as suggested by a separate job posting last year?

At the Code Conference last week, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said he "wouldn't rule out" the company building its own devices, but said the Spotify service is his company's primary business. "If we do things, it is to enable that service. It isn't to be in the hardware [business] selling these things," he told attendees.

What would you want Spotify to build?

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