[All Platforms]Private Listening - "Listen in Private Mode"



I know there's a lot of requests on privacy and how it works... Leaving that aside I'd just like to get quicker access to it on mobile.


Right now, private listening is in user options screen. I go in, turn it on and then go find my playlist I want to keep private... (EG, at night time sounds of the rainforest or classical music or something)


I want to keep this private because I don't want my discover weekly and other recommendations to offer me ambient noise tracks or classical pieces. They are focused playlists to help me sleep, and are way different to my listening habits throughout the day.


So, the feature is, on the Song/Playlist/Artist/Album (dot dot dot) more controls menu, just add in a simple option which says "Listen in Private Mode".


Then I can just ad-hoc listen privately without going in and out of user profile. 


Potential extra functionality...


  1. Privacy mode persists throughout the duration of the selected playlist/album/etc and does not time out.
  2. If I listen to a playlist in privacy mode, and then switch playlists to something else, privacy mode is disabled. I can re-enable it if I want in the ... menu, however I think a user has made a choice to switch, therefore listening preferences should be reset. 
    1. If an issue, show a notification bar very briefly onscreen (like the cannot play song blue bar that sticks to the top) that flashes up a message 'Privacy mode disabled: Enable on this (Album/Playlist/Etc) -- Easier continued privacy listening

Basically it. 




Updated on 2020-01-21

Marked as new idea.

Rock Star 24
Rock Star 24
Status changed to: New Idea

Updated on 2020-01-21

Marked as new idea.


This overlaps with other similar requests from parents, like myself, who would like to more easily keep music played for our kids from meddling with our ability to use Spotify for recommendations and new music discovery.


What about if we were able to tag playlists as 'Always Private' so that they are excluded from Spotify's taste-learning algorithms at all times?

Casual Listener

Nice idea. I'd vote for that.


I think calling it private mode can be misconstrued by the user, because there would be people who would always listen in private mode (meaning others cannot see what they are listening), but would like to use what they are listening privately also into their discover weekly playlist suggestions.


A new option called maybe as "listen without Spotify tracking" or some better name that explains the user that when this option is selected, then whatever they listen to, is not included into discover weekly and other Spotify provided playlists based on listening habits.


Agreed… "Private" mode suggests you are hiding your activity from others, which may not be the same as hiding your activity from Spotify itself. That's why I think tying the setting to the playlist rather than it being a toggled mode would be helpful for this purpose. You'd still be able to use 'Private' mode to keep friends from following your activity, but your "Exclude" lists would be ignored by the AI regardless of your 'mode.'

Casual Listener

Some thoughts:

  1. There may be people who want to hide their activity from others, and...
    • Although this is a use case, we would need to know how important hiding your listening habits is to users. Spotify might have some numbers in the analytics. (Look for repeat users of private mode, see duration of sessions, etc)
    • I assume these numbers are low and not a problem we would want to solve en masse, therefore we don't, however, if by chance...
    • If this is a significant number and we are going to solve this, the way they may currently do this is to manually toggle on/off private mode in settings. Currently this functionality as I understand it times out after 6 hours with no notification to the user it has done so. Therefore, slips of non-private listening time may get publicised to either the 'Learning API' or 'Social Tracker'.
    • And if I had to design a solution, in the User Settings screen...
      • Checkbox 1: Do not share my listening habits with other users.
      • Checkbox 2: Do not use my listening habits to offer me recommendations.
    • These would both be permanently set options.
      • Or could time out after a longer duration, eg 30 days
      • Or notify of a pending timeout approaching the 30 days, allowing users to extend
  2. There may be people who want to listen to something in private, and...
    1. I assume these numbers are greater, judging from feature ideas on the boards and my gut feeling, but again Spotify may have analytics to confirm... 
    2. But when we use the terminology 'Private', that's what we think it means as users. We think, what we choose to do in Private Mode stays private, whether we break down that term into including a learning algorithm or social publication, private = mine, secure, hidden, just for me, etc...
    3. So, a potential solution could be as I described in the ticket, a simple dropdown behind the menu item on playlists/albums/(maybe individual songs) which says "Listen in Private" - Where Private means private. Just let me listen and 'do nothing else - no tracking, no sharing, no reccomending'

Longer than I wanted that comment to be 🙂


Edited to highlight the solutions, and not the reasoning. 


Well reasoned, Dave.


There are folks like me who do not at all care whether my song listening is shared with friends on Spotify nor whether Spotify uses my habits to track and recommend. I would actually like them to track and recommend. However, it would be useful to designate specific content as "not my thing even though I'm playing it right now"... good for things like checking out music someone recommended to you, or listening to soft jazz because you have company over, or playing lullabies for the baby... turning Private mode on for these things is a hassle because it's a) something I do often, and b) something that doesn't follow from one device to another (i.e. when I turn on private mode at my desk it is not turned on for my iPhone).


So I think separating "Private" from "Untracked" is a good thing, particularly since the current "Private" stuff continues to affect Discover and various other stuff. As it stands now, the music discovery features of Spotify are largely useless for anyone who plays music for other people or whose listening habits are situational.


Is there a way to find a private playlist?? Not mine... it's from another profile. 

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