Your Ideas At Work: Shuffle Improvements

Spotify
Spotify

The Community Ideas Board isn’t just about requesting new features. It’s also about improving the features already in Spotify.

 

Take our shuffle algorithm for instance.

 

The Idea “Implement an actual shuffle function” by Community user @RoninTheOrigina  gathered over 850 votes.  Users were vocal in their comments about what they wanted (and didn’t want) when it came to shuffling playlists.

 

We then passed this knowledge on and our teams got to work.

 

The result: an improved shuffling algorithm that avoids playing a couple songs from an artist too close together.

 

shuffle algorithm.png

 

If you’re thinking, “that sounds kind of vague, what are these improvements” then fret no more.

 

Spotify’s @lukasP  has written an extensive blog post on how we gathered user feedback on Shuffle, analyzed their comments, took a hard look at our previous algorithm and found the best way to bring the improvements users wanted.

 

We’re aware this doesn’t fix all shuffling issues forever. Rest assured we are still working on this though.  You’ll also see the new algorithm in other clients other than desktop soon.

 

Now go hit shuffle on your favorite playlist and reap the benefits of your hard work clicking that Kudos button.

 

Enjoy!

 

105 Comments
Peter__
Community Legend
I'm not 100% sure, does Spotify save your play queue when you exit (which is essentially what would be needed to implement this)?
kjbllc
Music Fan

yes in some form it does, because it will start where you left off, but I think it goes back to some original 100 songs to shuffle or something. liek I said I have 9,000 songs and it repeats way toooooo often, I should not hear the same song for weeks , I would think. other than that I am very happy with the product. 

 I think if we just keep posting it will happen

_daniel_
Music Fan

@Peter: Not sure about the Play Queue feature, not using it at all. If I'm looking for new music I shift it to several playlists of mine and when I'm actually listening to music I only use my playlists. And in those the songs which were played before shutting off spotify are definitely not saved.

 

@Kjbllc: From my experiment Spotify played ALL 50 songs in my playlist just ONE single time, so the shuffle play perfectly worked (as I mentioned, I didn't expect that result either). And I repeated this several times and to my surprise Spotify worked correctly each single time.

 

However, Spotify has to run the whole time and need NOT to be switched off EVER, otherwise it starts all over again (you can also never change the playlist or listen to something else).

 

Would be glad if someone else tried similar experiments and would share the results.

kjbllc
Music Fan

I don't usually switch off, or change playlist as it is so big, I do turn my computer off, but on restart it leaves off where the last song played was. 

  I might work on a 50 song playlist, better than a 9k one, I think it picks out a hundred or so songs and shuffles them, so the next day it might play those same 100 songs. 

 

 I play music all day, from 7 am till about 8pm. in  a week I will hear quite a number of repeats, but it does seem to repeat with predictability , 

 like it gets into a section of my playlist with hendrix, and I will hear hendrix a lot for a week, then it hits some other artist section. 

 

this is what leads me to believe it takes sections of a play list and shuffles them , then maybe moves on. 

 

 I have taken to putting up the paly que, and fast forwarding by a couple of hundred songs to get to some I have not heard in a while. that seems to work for the most part, \

 

 but it also gets back to the heard many times songs sooner than later, 

 

  If the suffle worked the way I wanted it to, I would only hear a repeat every 61 days if I play music 10 hours a day

 

so it falls far short of that, It can't go 2 days without a repeat, of the same song, 

 

It may be too complicated to be able to so it with a large amount of playlists , I don't know anything about programming,

 

 What would work for me would be play every 51th or 83th song, it would naturally ( I think) never repeat  a song ..  but thats just me 

 

 It seems most people would like to hear the same songs over and over again, judging by the radio and the kind of live music that you find in bars and such. 

 

 and as I have said, all in all i like the service a lot, I can work around the repeats, 

 

 In some cases , I just eliminate the songs that repeat, or whole artists, which does solve the problem. 

 for the most part I am happy with hearing a song once every year ..  with all the good music out there, why listen to what you already have memorized?

 

 

_daniel_
Music Fan

Exactly, so your experience seems to fit into the results of my experiment.

 

After restarting your computer Spotify starts with the last song you played before leaving. However, and this is what my experiment showed, Spotify does not remember which songs you played before.

 

So lets say you have 9,000 songs in one playlist and you played 250 songs of those yesterday, finishing with song X. Today, Spotify will start with song X and shuffle play all 9,000 songs again instead of continuing with the remaining 8,750. So the 250 songs you already heard are in the new shuffle and can therefore be repeated.

 

If you switch off your computer each day, Spotify will start with a new shuffle routine each day, never remembering the songs it had already played.

 

 

For me the trouble is rather that I have several playlists which I use daily for different activities like dinner with guests, chill out, work out etc. So I might work out now for an hour or so and afterwards I want to relax for an hour and then I have guests coming over to have dinner with us. For each mood I want to play that particular playlist with lets say 500 songs. If I want to do the same things the very next days, my shuffle play won't remember which songs I played the day(s) before and I might hear the same songs over and over and over again...

hans-jürgen
Roadie

_daniel_ schrieb:

After restarting your computer Spotify starts with the last song you played before leaving. However, and this is what my experiment showed, Spotify does not remember which songs you played before.


That is probably correct, as I have noticed that the last song played might be remembered when you simply have played Your Music -> Songs in shuffle mode before instead of a static playlist, but it will go on playing the whole album where that song came from and not the last generated play queue. Xbox Music will do that, as far as I remember, i.e. remember the last play queue where you left and start with the last song you heard, not from the beginning.

_daniel_
Music Fan

No answer, neither here nor to my private message.

 

I mean I'm not sure whether me and ALL the other users complaining about this bug made ourselves clear enough: the flawed shuffle mode makes Spotify basically unusable in the long term! At one point the only work-around is changing to another provider.

 

I get the feeling Spotify's support crew is a bit too small to adequately take care of all requests in an appropriate amount of time. Reflects the importance of customer satisfaction to Spotify... Not really 21st century

craigm066
Newbie

Is there going to be ashuffle feature for the pc version please put it in it is quite ennyoing listening to the same artists over agian 

SR_Penny
Music Fan

This is still an issue (for me at least, as it's the one feature I use daily and still doesn't work at all), so today I have cancelled my Spotify subscription and have moved to Google Play Music All Access. Goodbye Spotify.

SebastianSaint
Casual Listener
May I propose a solution?

Spotify Coders:
1) Create a data field for each song that stores the time I last played that song.
2) Whenever the player is on Shuffle, choose the next song from the current playlist only considering the 10% of songs on the playlist with the oldest LastPlayed value.

Here's my logic:
1) The current song will not be replayed until I have heard at least 90% of the other songs in the playlist.
2) It will work if I listen with or without interruption.
3) It will work if I switch between playlists containing some of the same songs.
4) The solution remains simple.
dmholtzer
Casual Listener

the shuffle is still terrible, it needs to realize that it's playing the same 100 songs when i have a few thousand. It should be able to recognize what it has already played in the playlist after a certain period of time and not play it unless you specifically pick that song. i dont want to hear the same songs everytime i drive to work

banjodog1966
Newbie

How do I take Shuffle off??

 

Please

user-removed
Not applicable

Hello: What system or device are you wanting to take shuffle off of? On the desktop app if you look to the lower right hand corner to the two symbols, one of which is two arrows criss crossed that is the shuffle icon, just click it until it returns to grey in color if it is green in color. Grey shuffle mode off, green color it is turned on.

 

On android if you are playing something from a playlist or an album page you need to be permium to turn shuffle off. When something is playing, load the Playing From screen by touching on the current playing song of the release material being play, lower bar. What will now load is a picture of the cover art of what is being played, look to the lower left for the two criss cross arrow symbols tap them until they turn back to grey, as long as you are premium users can turn shuffle off on android devices. Tablets 7" or larger can also play music without shuffle mode on free accounts.

WaxwingSlain
Music Fan

The shuffle feature is still not working.  Why don't I have the option to select one of my playlists and have ALL of the songs in that playlist play in a random order, instead of Spotify picking the same 50 songs to repeat over and over?

 

This is getting really frustrating.  A "shuffle" feature has been available on music players for decades.  Why is it so hard for Spotify?

 

At least be honest about what is really going on when a user selects "shuffle".

_daniel_
Music Fan

Sorry Jay,

but it seems you haven't read ANY of the above messages in this thread. Why should anyone bother to answer you?

 

Thx for trying to help anyway.

WaxwingSlain
Music Fan
In the past weeks, I've read absolutely EVERYTHING that's been written in
the Spotify community regarding shuffle. In the Spotify PC application,
shuffle has NOT been fixed. It is still weighted toward certain songs, and
instead of shuffling my playlist of 1000+ songs, it seems to pick about 50
and shuffles those.

So that is why "someone" should reply to me. Now what have you added to
this conversation?

_daniel_
Music Fan

I was replying to JayLB's message (...On the desktop app if you look to the lower right hand corner to the two symbols, one of which is two arrows criss crossed that is the shuffle icon, just click it until it returns to grey in color if it is green in color. Grey shuffle mode off, green color it is turned on...) --> great help, JayLB, that's the solution we were all looking for.

Sorry Jimnitti, didn't know your real name is Jay as well.

 

Anyway, I added to this conversation that I took hours of my valuable time to conduct an experiment and eventually found out, what exactly causes the shuffle to fail ("...I created a playlist of 50 songs and conducted a little experiment:  I shuffle played all 50x songs and to my surprise each song was only played ONCE until each single song of the playlist was played. After that the shuffle function started all over again and shuffle played the 50x songs all over again. In total I repeated this experiment four times and to my surprise it worked perfectly. No song was played twice within a 50x-song-cycle (...) Eventually I found the problem (...) I listened to 25 songs out of my 50 song playlist and switched off Spotify. When I switched it back on again Spotify would still remember which song I played when I switched it off. However, Spotify forgot which 25 songs I played before so the whole shuffle play started all over again, also playing the 25 songs it had already played.  The same happened when I played a song from another playlist, artist or album. Spotify simply doesn’t remember the songs it had already played...) --> see full message on page 3.

 

Anyway, don't you think I got a response from a Spotify member after doing their work. They have never reacted and even ignore PMs.

 

So you better get used to the current shuffle experience or keep your device on at all times and never listen to anything else but that one single playlist...

 

 

WaxwingSlain
Music Fan
I apologize, I thought you were replying to me.

You've tested shuffle with 50 songs, but what about 200, or 1000? I'm sure
a lot of users have created massive playlists and would like to get an
experience different from Hits Radio where the same 50 songs play over and
over.

And I appreciate your willingness to test Spotify's shuffle even if the
devs don't.

Jim (not Jay)
_daniel_
Music Fan

Hey Jim, no worries.

 

I chose 50 songs to speed up the process and get results quickly. And after I realised that shuffle worked perfectly, I tried other combinations until I found the real problem. It's all about Spotify's missing ability to remember those songs you played. And I would assume there is no difference for playlists with 50, 100, or 1,000 songs (I have those too).

 

There's different solutions to this problem but I'm afraid no one at Spotify cares. I wrote Meredith a PM months ago, no reply to this date. And here no one writes anything helpful, right Jay ;)

 

Take care

Daniel

WaxwingSlain
Music Fan

I see.  You're saying that Spotify cannot remember which songs have been played across separate plays of the playlist).  But would that explain why each morning, when I start a playlist shuffling (by clicking on the playlist in my list of playlists), 5 of the first 20 songs I hear are going to be the same every single day?  As I said, there are a little more than 1000 songs in my playlist, but every morning I start the shuffle and here come those same 5 songs.

 

This cannot be happening randomly.  Why THOSE songs every single time?  And why are certain songs in my playlist NEVER played (even though they are not greyed out in the playlist)?

 

I have noticed one thing:  I can get a somewhat more random shuffle by "fast forwarding" through all 1000 songs to clear the "queue".  Maybe the entire problem can be solved simply by having the queue cleared completely every time Spotify is closed?  It appears that when you start a shuffled playlist, Spotify creates a queue (maybe of all 1000 songs in the playlist) and then if you don't play through the entire queue, Spotify starts the next morning by shuffling the first 50 songs of the already shuffled playlist.  That would explain why I'm hearing a lot of the same songs eveyr day, no?

 

I'm sorry if I'm not making sense.  I haven't had enough coffee yet today.  But thank you for your kind replies.

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