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[All Platforms] Shuffle algorithm that favours "unpopular" songs

As a paying Spotify premium customer, I need a shuffle algorithm different from the current, non-random shuffle that seems to favor "popular" songs, as has been pointed out by other customers who experimented with what is actually happening (see links to other posts below).

Currently there are only two possible ways to listen to music in playlists, either in the listed order, or shuffled by an algorithm that makes listeners miss out on about 20% to 30% of the songs in the list, favoring the ones that we already listened to hundreds or thousands of times.

I want to be able to choose another algorithm that does exactly the opposite: play songs in a pseudo-random order but leaving out the ones that already have been played frequently, and instead focusing on songs seldom listened to, in order to make me rediscover new songs and inspirations! This is even more important when listening to playlists made by other people, to help me discover new music.

The new algorithm could be called something like "serendipity shuffle" or "discover mode". This could be an option to activate in the user's settings, so the existing popularity shuffle would stay the default option.

In case a serendipity shuffle is too hard for you to implement, a simple randomized shuffle function would also be much better than the current one. This has already been pointed out in other posts in this forum.

See other posts in this community:


Updated on 2020-03-23

Hi everyone, we like the idea, but we don't have any immediate plans to implement this.



Use case for "smart" shuffle


User-- my friend-- wants to hear some random Van Morrison track in every ten tracks, average-- with five other levels of user-selected random repetition on various artists, albums, and covers.  Here is a snapshot of that example of "smart" shuffle on a recent feed from a TotalLibrary of 24,649 tracks-- >> . <<


In contrast, a different possibility-- a genuine shuffle with no repeats


@johnvestevich, I sympathize with your accurate observation that the Spotify shuffle refuses to play many songs in any playlist with a decent size.   Hence, my friends showed me how to use Excel to truly shuffle every track and only the tracks that I have not played in the last 90 days-- giving for example the never-ending queue of my AllOfSpotify_Queue  >>  << .


I play from a copy of AllOfSpotify_Queue from which I occasionally highlight and delete all of the tracks above the track that is playing-- thus giving a play to every track and only the tracks that I have not played in the last 90 days.




Spotify: too good to cancel, too bad to really like? Making up my mind.... Should I stay or should I go?


It's laughably.
You subscribe to music service with hope that you will have your lovely playlist in your pocket and in the cloud.
And what you see?
Yes, yes, you can choose thouthands singers and songs.
Yes, yes, it'll be in the cloud and even more - it can be cached to your device and played offline.
But you'll listen always only 30-50 songs from your playlist with thouthands songs and hundred singers.
Dear Spotify, maybe you should implement another tariff +5$ with real shuffle?!
It's not laughably.
Dear Spotify more than 500 customers have complains ... or 500 complained users on the background of millions - it's nothing for you?
And what is the cynic answer: "Hi everyone, we like the idea, but we don't have any immediate plans to implement this."
As I see it's problem with all on-line platforms: I used Deezer, I'm user Youtube Music, and Spotify right now.
When users complains to shuffle mode all of this services ignore it.

Maybe they try to reduce traffic usage and prefer to use local application cache ?!
But if yes it's fraud! 😞
Maybe this weak random mode in application platform it's not real random because application uses Web-platform and JavaScript which is famous their limitations, or it's result of weird and wrong architecture inside it.


But I know one thing - if you want to do your best you can do it, you can change it to better state!


Your vinni-the-pooh, without hope to be heard ...


The rolling shuffle that Spotify uses is very frustrating for me. The automatic weighting towards songs that I have listened to more often in the past has functionally turned my playlists from 250-1000 songs that I would like to hear into an echo chamber where I only really hear about 20% of what is in that playlist. Its gotten bad enough that I have started removing songs/artists from my playlists after they play 4+ times in an hour out of a 50+ hour playlist.


It is honestly laughable that there are apps/websites out there dedicated to shuffling spotify playlists into a random order for people to play WITHOUT the built in shuffle in order to have a better experience (which realistically, this would be a totally viable solution on your end too. User shuffles playlist, plays without shuffle, reshuffles playlist when they get to the end).


If I want to add a new song to a playlist and actually have it come up at all, I have to force the algorithm to think that I have to listen to nothing but that song by playing it on repeat 5-10 times back to back. This makes the song appear in the shuffle queue more often, but once again I am essentially pushing out songs that have less of a weight to how often spotify has deemed I am worthy to listen to them or something.


Please please look into having an alternate or more comprehensive shuffle mechanic. I have been using spotify premium for nearly 10 years, and I've gotten so frustrated with the shuffle over the last year or two that I am actually looking around at different music platforms with two main notes of interest: Sound quality and Shuffle function.


Imagen if Spotify came out and said why they don't want to add this simple option...


I fully agree with this. Smart shuffle has driven me mad for years. As another user mentioned in a similar thread, smart shuffle is INSULTING. Why would we have songs in a playlist/liked songs if we don’t want to ever hear them again? If we skip a song one day it could be for any number of reasons. How difficult would it really be to give us a choice to uncheck smart shuffle?


Add smart shuffle to the list of reasons I’m cancelling my premium subscription as it has made this app less useful to me. Reasons #1 & 2 being that they pay most artists $.003 per stream yet invest $113 in military surveillance, and then also have no content guidelines regarding spreading blatant misinformation, which customers AND spotify’s own employees are upset about. Clearly military surveillance & Joe Rogan fans matter more than everybody else who has supported spotify. **bleep** you spineless piece**bleep** Ek


Please, Spotify, reconsider this. I am desperate to stop hearing the songs you all think I want to hear a lot ONLY because you play it a lot. I want TRUE RANDOM and/or algorithm preferences like so many others have been asking for for years. Do you guys listen at all? 


"Hi everyone, we like the idea, but we don't have any immediate plans to implement this."

-Spotify, March 23, 2020

Translation: "Yeah... we're aware but we don't care. Popular songs make us more money as we assume you can't or won't think for yourself and hearing popular songs will keep you coming back to listen more"

I don't think it'd really even be that hard (although I'm not a programmer so maybe it is haha). Make an algorithm that looks first at artist then at albums by that artist then at track title in general (i have some live versions added to playlists with the album version) and assigns some kind of numerical or alphabetical value to it based on how they'd be ordered when sorting by that tag. For example:


When organizing by artist, the artist at the top of the list could be A1, the artist that occurs 8th on the list could be A8

When organizing by album, the 3rd album of A1 would be R3 (for record, I guess to differentiate from artist) and the 2nd album of A8 would be R2

When organizing by track, it looks at if organizing the entire playlist by track title in case you have different versions of the same song (including live versions, covers by other artists, etc) so the 4th track would be T4 and the 21st track would be T21 and let's say those tracks appear on A1R3 and A8R2, respectively


So the first song would be A1R3T4 and the second would be A8R2T21


If the algorithm were able to first randomize by the first value, then by the second in case it lands on the same first value as the previous track, then by the third in case there's the small chance of it randomly choosing two different versions of the same song (which has happened multiple times on some of my 1000+ song playlists and honestly baffles me) 


As an addition, I absolutely agree with the "favor unpopular songs" option. If Spotify could keep a historical playcount, then there could also be a randomize function but adding a probability of the inverse of the play count of the song. For example:


Say A1R3T4 had a play count of 32 and A8R2T21 had a play count of 96 (3 times as much). The inverse for each, respectively, would be 0.03125 or 3.125% and 0.01042 or 1.042% (don't judge me if this math is wonky). A1R3T4 has been played 3 times LESS than A8R2T21, but having an algorithm inverse the play count should then make it 3 times MORE likely to get played next compared to the other