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Spotify's shuffle function is too 'smart'

Spotify's shuffle function is too 'smart'





Device and Operating System



My Issue

I didn't actually know in which board I should've posted this, since it's an issue with Spotify's shuffle algorithm and not with the version of Spotify installed on my device - I have the exact same problem on my phone.


I'm assuming Spotify's shuffle function doesn't actually shuffle the songs randomly - it probably takes your preferences into account. That in itself is fine, but my problem is that it does it too much. I have a playlist of ~550 tracks and Spotify seems to think that I like some songs/artists so much, that I never hear some of the less recently added songs. Hearing multiple songs of the same artists close to one another is fine - that's just smart shuffling. Hearing those same songs every day without other songs being played isn't fine, in my opinion.


I looked around the community for 1-2 hours, and I found some (much older) topics about Spotify selecting a batch of songs. Spotify would only play/shuffle the next 50/100 songs from the selected song onwards. This could also be the same issue since I mostly hear songs I recently added to this playlist, but it could also be that Spotify thinks I like those newer songs more since I listened to them more recently. I couldn't find proof of some songs at the bottom of my list never being played so I'm assuming the issue is Spotify smart shuffling based on my assumed preferences.


EDIT: I just started shuffle in the middle of my playlist, and after that I've seen the fifth song from the beginning play, as well as one of the last 10 songs. Thus, the issue with Spotify playing only a batch of songs was probably fixed and isn't the problem in this case.


Possible solutions:

I think there are 3 possible solutions for this issue:

1. Less smart shuffling, more true shuffling - Spotify could try to avoid repeats more. It could wait with playing a song (if shuffle is turned on) again for at least a week or until the entire playlist has been played.

2. Continuing shuffling sessions - For this solution I'm assuming you would actually hear every song in the playlist before hearing a repeated song if you just wouldn't click the shuffle or play button again. Assuming that's the way Spotify's algorithms work, the previous shuffle session of a playlist would just be resumed (even though you played different songs/playlists in between those shuffling session of that playlist) when you click the shuffle button again. I like this solution less, since some smart shuffling can definitely improve your listening experience.

3. Allow people to disable smart shuffling - probably the easiest solution. Spotify could add a toggle to the settings of the app, allowing you to disable smart shuffling altogether (or perhaps selecting how much smart shuffling you'd like).


The solutions are based on the assumption that a smart shuffling algorithm is causing this issue, which actually might not be the problem. I just know that I hear some music way too often, which makes me dislike those tracks. It pretty much ruins my and others' listening experience even though I think Spotify is flawless apart from this issue. Thank you for reading/your time.

6 Replies

Hey @HeddevH, welcome to the Community.


Thank your for taking the time to write on your feedback.

If you would like, you can submit it in Idea Submissions board or support it if this idea has been already submitted.

I will make sure to pass it to the right folks at Spotify.


Have a nice day 🙂

Thank you LorenXK. I did want to submit it there but couldn't find a form to do so, so thank you for linking it for me.

This happened to me too! But mine is based on what song I last played before I pressed shuffle, Like if I play Japanese song next one most likely be Japanese or the same genre, I like it but sometimes it's to much that it's never play other country than Japanese or other genres

The whole concept of a shuffle algorithm just annoys me immensely. Why can't we choose to have the songs on in a truly random way. Yes, that would result in repeats, because that's what random is, but I'm quite happy to skip them. What I don't like is the algorithm hiding some things away forever and tending to play the same things in the same order over and over and over and over and over again. Random is fine, thanks, let's have that. If you have an eclectic taste in music, no algorithm is ever going to succeed in working out what it thinks you want to hear. We've also presumably put a selection of songs on shuffle because we like all those songs. Otherwise, y'know, maybe we wouldn't have put them on?

       >> SpotifyShuffle . . . plays some music way too often . . . skips important genres, artists, and tracks . . . Would a NonSmart shuffle give more user satisfaction?


Yes! Bravo! I am looking for faster ways of getting a satisfactory shuffle.


Right now, the fastest way for me to keep the Spotify shuffle from offending my ears with repeats or tracks never played is to feed the Spotify shuffle only preshuffled playlists of 9000 tracks-- such as AllOfSpotify_Queue >> << which regularly removes the tracks that I have played in the last 90 days.


To preshuffle my play queue, I use either a >> text shuffler << or I use my Excel spreadsheet with the Excel function RAND() in the first column, track HTML ascii in the second column, and track HTML link in the third column. When I sort on the first column, the sort operation shuffles the records and then revalues the RAND() column for a second or third shuffle if I want-- Then I copy the second column back into empty 9K track playlists in Spotify-- The third column gives me the SpotifyTrackName just for debugging purposes.


My friends conjecture that when the Spotify shuffle faces a 9000 track playlist already shuffled, the Spotify shuffle looks at the first 200 tracks and sees no pattern in genre, album, or artist and therefore turns off all the smart features that give those infuriating repeats. Maybe . . . .


In any case, I hear no offending repeats when I feed a 9000 track preshuffled playlist to the Spotify shuffle.


And if I want to hear all the tracks in my playlist, I just play the preshuffled list with the Spotify shuffle turned off.


Hey there folks,


Thanks for posting here and sharing your feedback with us.  


Would you mind checking if you observe the same with the Shuffle feature after performing a clean reinstall of the app? We recommend this since it'll refresh your Spotify account data. 


It'd also be helpful to check if you experience this when logging in with a different Spotify account. If it works with another account, follow the steps in this Spotify Answer next. 


Hope this helps. Keep us posted.   

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