Content Question - Short Playlist Descriptions

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Content Question - Short Playlist Descriptions

Ghostgate
Music Fan

Plan: Free

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My Question or Issue: Why was the Playlist Description character limit lowered from 300 to 200 characters?

 

I don't think my device, OS, or country has anything to do with the latest change with the most recent update, which was changing the Playlist Description's character limit from 300 to 200 characters; this even caused an ASCII issue too (where the following occurs: "&amp;" for "&", "&lt;" for "<", "&gt;" for ">", "&quot;" for the quotation mark itself, and so on). While there are other, more questionable, features added in this latest edition of the Desktop App (at least for Mac users), I figure others have already discussed those and they're more tolerable for me, but from what I could tell, no one has brought up this feature. This is rather limiting for those of us who end up having long playlist descriptions, personally I'd prefer over 300 characters, but would definitely settle for 300 over 200.

 

As an example, I write descriptions for specific artists, and I write my descriptions in this format:

<earliest year>-<latest year> = <album> (yyyy), <album> (yyyy), etc.

 

An artist example, let's take "Lil Tjay" from the "RapCaviar" playlist as an example, would be like this:

2018-2021 = Destined 2 Win (2021), State of Emergency (2020), True 2 Myself (2019)

"2018" refers to "Lil Tjay"'s earliest single he released, that's on Spotify, "Long Time".

 

As you can see, the more albums an artist releases, the longer the description will become. While I found 300 characters limiting, I was able to tolerate it as a means of "Spotify likely can't store more than 300 characters for playlists on top of all the other data for it.", or something along those lines (regardless of how realistic it sounds), but for it to go down to 200? Any help, or insight, on this matter would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

 

Thanks for reading, have a great rest of your day.

8 Replies

Jeremy
Moderator
Moderator

Hey there @Ghostgate,

 

Thank you for your post and feedback here in the Community.

 

You mentioned that you can see &amp;" for "&", "&lt;" for "<", "&gt;" in your description. When you change a description in a playlist, what the app does in the background, so that this is reflected for others and not just stored locally is that it converts it to HTML code that the apps on other folks' devices then decode into the description they see.

 

Some special characters used in HTML, including an ampersand or the percentage sign can break this, as they have specific functions in code.

 

That being said, we support emojis in descriptions and the ampersand should work in most situations, but we can't guarantee it, as it depends on the description itself and the underlying code that needs to be generated.

 

If you're creating the descriptions on your phone it might also be worth to try it out on the desktop app or vice versa, as the two apps handle this differently.

 

You can read more about how your feedback reaches Spotify here when it comes to the description limit. 

 

We're always testing things by adding or removing features to make Spotify better overall and we’re constantly aiming to improve our features. We’re sorry that this means you’re not able to use Spotify like you wish to do at the moment.

 

Once again - thanks for the feedback, we appreciate it. Let us know if we can help you with anything else. 

 

Take care!

JeremyModerator
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Ghostgate
Music Fan

Hey @Jeremy,

 

Thanks for responding and elaborating on the ASCII code process, that is informative and good to know, but you didn't answer my base question (the main point of my post): Why are the descriptions limited to 200 characters over 300 characters?

 

For, as I mentioned in my post, that is quite limiting, is there a specific reason why descriptions were shortened? I was hoping, if anything, they would support more characters, even if it's just 350 or something (otherwise, just remain the same at being 300).

 

Although, the link you provided, while informative and helpful (thanks for that), just explained how an idea gets noticed by the development team, which I understand is a system to kind-of pay closer attention to the more popular ideas. As you may not have a large enough team to sort through every single request, especially concerning requests that may ruin it for others or won't really work (as there likely are some out there).

 

Anyhow, the post didn't really state anything else, so I guess if people want larger descriptions, they'll have to Upvote my post. Sounds weird, but I do understand from a business standpoint, where you're coming from. In any case, the 200 character limit is a hindrance, but at least it wasn't removed, still, any explanation on why it was lowered would be appreciated.

 

I apologize for my rambling, have a great rest of your day and take care!

-Ghostgate-

alexlyee
Music Fan
Yeah! Thank you for writing about this, I was just considering complaining about this. I'm VERY upset about this because I actually have hundreds of mixtapes where I put a lot of important stories of mine in shorthand form, and now I cannot edit any of them without stripping them of a third of their length! Also, it appears as if they got rid of sorting by artist in playlists? What is this? I cannot wait until an alternative comes about to knock Spotify out of the market at this point, they seem to be so careless about putting out an actually quality app in so many ways. I've actually made a list of about 30 things that I cannot get over about the desktop and iOS app.

Jeremy
Moderator
Moderator

Hi there @Ghostgate and @alexlyee,

 

Thank you for your replies and feedback.

 

The limit was reduced as longer descriptions were causing issues on certain lower-end devices.

 

As we want to consider people with many different setups and make the app accessible to many, we looked at data and showed that it's very rare that a playlist description moves beyond 200 characters, so this was chosen.

 

In addition, even if we're talking simple text, with billions of playlists on Spotify, this still amounts to a very big amount of data, which requires the technical need to try and reduce it. Nevertheless, we do value the feedback. If you think this feature will appeal to other users you can always create an idea on the relevant idea board. Once again - we always take new ideas and feedback into consideration to improve the app. 

 

Let us know if we can help you with anything else 🙂

Take care!

JeremyModerator
Help others find this answer and click "Accept as Solution".
If you appreciate my answer, maybe give me a Like.
Live, love, laugh and listen to music 🙂

alexlyee
Music Fan

1. Why could these devices not cut the last 103 characters or so and add “...” to the end?

 

2. Why is it not possible to reconvert the HTML back into ASCII as you edit the text?

 

3. Why does editing the playlist image have to break the non-alphanumeric contents of playlists too?? Now, so many of my favorite playlists have 400+ some character descriptions that’re hardly readable and can only be fixed by basically rewriting (all of them). Now also, every time I edit a playlist (assuming I can) I have to fix the description. This to me, is unacceptable for an app with a net worth of close to $21 billion.

Ghostgate
Music Fan

@alexlyee : Yeah, you're welcome. I wasn't sure how many people were out there that end up making longer playlist descriptions, I'm a bit of an elaborative person, myself, so that is why I'd like longer descriptions over 300 characters, if at all possible. It seems, as of now, the playlist descriptions have gone back to 300 characters, which is nice. My derivative was making empty playlists that hold the remaining albums that I can't put into one playlist's description, using said format above.

 

I actually noticed that the artist sorting isn't removed, rather, it's a variant from sorting by song names, if you click the "Title" part enough times it will sort through alternative settings, like "Artist". I was kind-of confused about that at first and disappointed if that was removed, the idea to click through it more than two times occurred and noticed that-that was the case, the "artist" listing is hidden, in a sense. I might check your list and see if I agree or not. I've tolerated a lot of the different things with Spotify (or, haven't found said things to be as much of a nuisance, I guess), but it's similar to any platform, when they update things a bit far, you just have to get used to it.

 

I do agree on one thing, I wish Spotify didn't push beta-testing content onto users without being able to opt-in, or opt-out. What I also would really want, is the option of customization. It may be a bit difficult to write out code allowing users to change a huge variety of options, but the more customization of how it looks, how you navigate, color schemes, etc. would likely draw in more customers. Additionally, if you think about reverting to older layout styles rather than having to just "deal with" the latest look and feel of the product, that would work wonders too (however, then comes the issue of storing different variations of the product as data, I suppose). I love Spotify for the wide-range of music availability, it just has some issues it needs to stop.

 

@Jeremy : Thanks for finally responding and explaining why that was the case. That makes a lot more sense, still, it's a shame that had to be done. As I stated to @alexlyee earlier, I didn't figure there'd be that many people who did, which is what prompted me to at least ask why. I'm glad the descriptions seem to have gone back up to 300 characters again, although I understand that holding all of that information in whichever datacenter/storage-array you have is probably a massive chunk of data that consumes a lot of resources; for what it's worth, though, it's amazing to have what we have in spite of that. Hence why I never really complained about the 300 character limit, just going lower was a bit disappointing as that would restrict my playlists as artists continue to release albums.

@alexlyee : I think the means of compiling stuff to "..." doesn't necessarily remove the data amount being stored, but if the issue lies with displaying all 300 characters, then yes, I agree, having a method of having "..." (like how it used to for the Desktop version) would work in fixing that issue. I agree that having to rewrite the descriptions is a nuisance on having to deal with that. Hopefully they can fix that soon, or find a solution to that problem, that allows their intention of a feature for multiple platforms, but doesn't have us have to rewrite our descriptions constantly for Desktop platforms, or any other platform that it does that on.

alexlyee
Music Fan

Yeah. I agree with all of what you said. I take a little bit more of a disagreeing stance on the playlist text thing though, and I do feel more qualified as a computer scientist, to the extent that I am; compared to the actual size of the music that they store and distribute, there’s no doubt in my mind that the text is absolutely puny in comparison, and honestly, the 300 character limit is probably just for making the app look more consistent. If you’re curious, here’s my list:

 

  1. Queue self-destructs without warning.
  2. Bugs out with my professional DAC when no other app does. —I need to go to sound and begin playing music on a realtek device and THEN switch to my DAC.
  3. Categories cannot be publicly displayed, shared, nor given cover art or a description, nor played.
  4. No option to mark podcasts as completed on anything but mobile.
  5. Playing on other devices is horribly delayed at times. Refuses to add to queue or play a new song many times while streaming to another device.
  6. Sometimes mobile app playback fails and the app needs to be restarted to continue playing music.
  7. Sometimes the desktop app stops displaying the friend activity section or the album art and that area needs to be refreshed somehow to get it back.
  8. Relatively trivial: listening only updates after 15 seconds of listening to friends, and doesn’t seem to always come through, especially if the app has been open for some time.
  9. Offers NO hifi service AT ALL unlike most competitors.
  10. Playlists have remarkably small character limit for description.
  11. No way to export/download all account data, this should be standard.
  12. No shortcuts. Specifically to like a song.
  13. Ridiculously slow and/or unresponsive at times without reason.
  14. Upon editing a playlist picture or title or desc, non-alphanumeric text breaks into HTML.
  15. If a mass of songs is added at once to a playlist, and then sorted by date added, they do not play in the expected order.
  16. No way to make top tracks or artists on profile public.
  17. Minor: profile could include a bio, or social links.

Note: these items aren’t reviewed criticisms, just things that have bothered me many times and so I wrote them down.

Ghostgate
Music Fan

@alexlyee : By the time you reply to this, I won't be able to respond for quite some time, about a half a year in fact (assuming I remember to get back on here afterward), if you want to know why, feel free to directly message me, as that is not a part of this topic; I'm merely informing you so you're aware of the possibility of me not responding later. I don't know if accepting an answer as a solution counts as closing up this thread or not, but I will be doing so soon, as @Jeremy has technically answered it. (I do not know how to tag somebody properly, unfortunately.)

 

By the way, being a computer scientist is awesome, I'm about to graduate into the IT field myself, so I do have some knowledge on the matter, but I reckon you'd know more in that field. As for your list:
• I don't think I've had the Queue do that, nor the issue with your DAC device, granted, I don't use one myself.
• Well, a category does act as more of a folder, so I personally don't see the issue there really; playlists can hold songs from various artists, anyway. Though, I do understand the idea over the possibility of shifting songs between playlists rather than making new ones or hand-picking songs to send over to other playlists.
• The Podcast thing is something I can agree on, even if I don't listen to podcasts all that often.
• I haven't done any streaming, so I wouldn't know.
• I haven't had my mobile app crash on me when listening to music.
• Personally, I keep my music to myself really, so I don't share anything or view the Friend's Activity tab much (to be blunt, I have specific tastes in music that my friends I added on Spotify don't seem to really be into), and for the former reason is why I don't have other friends with similar tastes added on Spotify. As for the stuff not loading, there are a few issues that arise for me, usually due to Internet issues or the like for me.
• I agree, playlists do have limited descriptions, it'd be nice if they could be larger.
• I agree on this too, having means to migrate data across, such as if trying to remove your account from Facebook, or some other platform, just to make it standardized for Spotify only (I added it via Facebook several years back, I believe just to test it out, and now I can't undo that without making a brand new account, which seems like a nuisance).
• What type of shortcut would you like to have? I've never found it that difficult to like a song.
• For me, the lag seems to derive from the memory utilization. Like Firefox, it tends to open up multiple processes which eat up a lot of CPU, it didn't used to be like that at one point.
• The HTML text basis is a nuisance, I agree. Another is when you go to edit it and it isn't saved, due to some means of lag by not enough bandwidth to go around or something on the server's end not receiving the request properly so it auto-populates the description with what it has, despite receiving, or not receiving, the edited description, or title.
• Lately, the "dates added" section does seem to be a little out of sync, some are updated to the proper time after being played, though they tend to sync up eventually, from what I can tell.
• While it would be neat to allow the option for top tracks and artists to be public, I wish more customization was allowed. You could have means of filling out your own "Top Tracks", "Top Artists", etc. in a way that is more profound than just customly making playlists, you know? That might be interesting, allowing you to pick and choose, while comparing to what your profile's data says about you. Lol - Statistics like that are neat to look at (such as displaying the artists, the number of songs you've liked by them, maybe hours listened to them, etc.).
• Yeah, having a profile biography and such would be nice.

Overall, interesting list, thanks for sharing. I shall bid you a farewell, hopefully you have a great rest of your day, and the next six months, or until you and I respond again (aside from the DM you may send me, haha). Until then, take care!
-Ghostgate-

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