Your Ideas At Work: Shuffle Improvements


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.




Music Fan

@_daniel_ wrote:

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.

JayLB was replying to the post immediately before his, by banjodog1966:



"How do I take Shuffle off??




Perhaps it's you that needs to read more carefully.

Casual Listener

Exactly my opinion. It is pretty obvious that some of the songs/artists from a playlist are prefered and some specific ones are almost never played.

Maybe I'm wrong but it seem the algorithm is set to prioritizing selected artists (monetising reasons?).

It even looks like an error. I intentionally tried to skip throught the playlist radio 4 times the number of all the songs inside and one of the artist has not been played even once.

Music Fan

Sorry Chipples, of course you're right. Didn't see that message, my bad.

Surely if they created a playlist Sort By feature which was randomised then we could just play that playlist all the way through. At the moment there is a Custom sort by feature, but all it does is put a playlist in a random order once but doesnt re-order it when you click on the custom button again, plus it sorts it in a silly order with about 5 songs of the same artist in a row.

What i would like to see is a sort by feature thats called randomised where by it shuffles the entire playlist rarandomly, i can then go through and play the whole playlist in full without using the shuffle feature. This elmininates the re-playing of songs.

If i switch playlists i can simply either remember the last song that was played and start from there or i can re-sort the playlist in a random order again, yes this will potentially create same song listening again but surely no-where near as bad as the so called shuffle feature they have presented us with.

At the moment i am sorting my songs alphabetically and playing the playlist all the way through, when i switch playlists i just randomly scroll through it and select a song and carry on from there. This solves the repeat issue but theres another problem in that Spotify doesnt let you save your sort preferences, so everytime i want to play a playlist i have to re-sort it from its default last added mode to alphabetically.

Can we get a setting where it saves your sort prefrences as this would im sure make many people's lives easier.
Just ideas 🙂
Thanks 🙂
Music Fan
That is precisely what I'm looking for. Thanks for the suggestion.


When I converted my listening history to several very long Spotify playlists, I sorted them alphabetically in a spreadsheet application before actually importing them with Ivy. So that way it is possible to save a playlist alphabetically, but maybe it also works if you sort an existing Spotify playlist and highlight all tracks to save them to a new playlist which keeps the new sorting afterwards.


Like mentioned before, for me the shuffle mode works very good on these converted playlists which I moved to a new playlist folder and play that folder at once in shuffle mode. It also works almost as good when playing my library of 9.4k tracks in Your Songs in shuffle mode, but I can see in my scrobbling history that there are repetitions of a few tracks during a week, probably due to the 10k track limit in Your Music.

Music Fan

Just to put pay to all the 'conspiracy theories' surrounding this, there is no monetary reason for Spotify to prioritise one track or artist over another. If you take a quick read as to how Spotify calculates royalty payments, you'll see that every artist ends up getting paid the same amount 'per-stream' by Spotify. If artsts end up getting a different amount, it's because their label or management is taking a cut.

Music Fan
Sill doesn't work (and neither does Google Play) - subscription cancelled again. Currently testing Tidal, which is doing very well so far with the same number of tracks favourited.
Casual Listener

Random is still horrible. in my 5000+ playlist i have heard the same song three times today


Casual Listener

The point in conspiracy of prioritizing one artist over another is not solved by the fact that each one gets the same amount of money for a play.

Actually quite the oposite. How can we be sure that the algorithm works really randomly?

I can clearly see that specific bands/tracks are played often and some artists (a new or alternative ones) are literally never played.

I'm not blaming Spotify to have a shady business going on, but there clearly is some sort of ranking of songs in use here.


This is important, I'm truly wondering how many of my fellow spotify users already died in a car accident while repeatedly pressing the forward button in an attempt to listen to something else. What I know is that I'm spending way too much time fiddling with my phone in the car  because of spotify's shuffle implementation.



If you're not convinced that there is an issue with your implementation of shuffle, please send me instructions for accessing my spotify history (song played, time of playing, shuffle activated, etc) in any format. I'll do a statistical analysis and will tell you the probability that it occurs under a true uniform distribution. 


We do _not_ want a "clever" (I mean the quotes) algorithm, we want a uniform random distribution.

Best regards, I hope you will consider my feedback this time.




I did a test today.


Every 7 times I pressed the next key I would get the same song.  I once even got the same song back to back.  It's only on the playlist once! I think your shuffle agorithem is broken.


There are so many threads on this problem and yet - nothing... crazy really.




I just now started using Spotify free, and came across this question: Is random/shuffle option off for free users? It seems that the "random" option is not random at all, but plays songs on my playlist on its spesific order. I did read this thread over and everyone seems to complain that the Shuffle only plays same songs over and over. But in my case it plays all the songs in the same order they are on the playlist. ...Why is that??

If I upgrade, and start paying actual money, then will it at least TRY to play songs at random? (And yes, I do know wherethe shuffle button is.) This does not really make me eager to pay, when I read comments how the random is not random at all, not even for paying users.


I wish I still had Winamp. -__-

Shuffle feature is so broken that I resorted to splitting 500 song playlist into 4 in hopes it would go "deeper" into the catalog. It still favors a tiny fraction of each playlist. Now I just turn shuffle off and play songs in order with list sorted by song title. It sucks though because I have to alternate through lists on playback. When adding new songs I have to decide which list to put it in. Also if there are duplicates or covers of a song you hear them twice in a row. Why are you making this so hard?! There must be something related to royalties!

In my experience the suffle has gone from bad to worse, sometimes when starting a playlist from a track it just revovels about that track and seems unable to go deeper into the playlist! Like it doesent know the whole playlist when starting from a song?

Casual Listener

 Is this ever going to be fixed? This post was posted a year and a half ago and people are still complaining about it? I just recently had the EXACT SAME SONG played back to back. Same artist, song, version, album. This issue is obviously not fixed and your algorithm needs work, to say the least.

Music Fan

I have the solution to the Spotify shuffle problem.



The problem with algorithms is that they eventually repeat themselves if there is not a checking service, which stops a track that has been played in a list to be played again. But, this solution would need to log all the lists on spotify, and would create an huge amount of data.


Instead of this Spotify should


Use something similar to the following. Take the number of songs in a list as the entry point then let a calculator multiply this figure with the current time (what the computer clock stands at in terms of minutes and seconds) in terms of minutes, then multiply again with the figure the seconds are at. This would provide the real random as the clock is not repetitive. 


So let this be the formula for the shuffle algorithm:


(numbers of songs in a list) X (current minute count on the computer) X (current seconds count) = A real shuffle!


Actually use what ever, but let the local computer clock be involved in the shuffle algorithm. If something in the algorithm isnt changing songs will be repeated. An algorithm need to be alive - the clock is the answer.

Casual Listener
I really does not want any advanced algorith. I want my spotify playlist to play randomly, just pick a new song completely random in my playlist. You should implement two different styles of randomness. Shuffle = using the algorithm, AND RANDOM = completely random based upon a completely random "dice", pls do this!

I have playlists with hundreds of songs, but still Spotify keeps playing like only 30 of them!
Music Fan
Sure, but what is random for you? It has to be created/programmed.

The question is how this should be coded.