Please stop marking shuffle complaints as "not an issue" or "implemented"

Status: Not An Issue

Below is my precise illustration of how the so-called shuffle feature is broken.  This is not a problem of people simply not understanding "true randomness".  The shuffle feature will keep playing your most popular tracks first and it will keep putting the least-popular tracks near the bottom of the list.  This means that you will rarely hear your least-popular tracks unless you listen to the entire playlist all the way through.

 

  1. I created a playlist of 99 popular rap songs. You should be able to access it here: spotify:user:12139360648:playlist:19bWMy5OSgPuCdQfGAsMwW
  2. Then I went to Forgotify and grabbed the first track it came up with: spotify:track:50CQRXMGKilUaa00o8pyua (Carnaval de Guaranda by Eduardo Cadena)
  3. Since that track came from Forgotify, we can safely assume that it has massively LESS popularity than all the tracks in my original playlist of 99 popular rap songs.
  4. This means that there are now 100 total songs in the playlist.
  5. I opened the playlist and began playing it with shuffle toggled on.
  6. Then I went to the Play Queue screen and looked at the first 80 songs generated in the shuffled playlist. Carnaval de Guaranda was not in the list. If I played the last song in the Play Queue (thus forcing it to reload the remaining 20 songs in the list), Carnaval de Guaranda DID exist on the second page, near the end of the list.
  7. I toggled shuffle off-and-on-again (thus forcing it to build a newly-shuffled Play Queue from the playlist).
  8. Carnaval de Guaranda is not in the first page of results. It IS on the second page, near the end of the list.
  9. I repeated this test 50 times – each time forcing Spotify to “reshuffle” the 100-song playlist.

My newly-chosen, purposely “unpopular” track (Carnaval de Guaranda) was never listed higher than 77th in the shuffled list. Out of 50 trials, Carnaval de Guaranda was presented, on average, at the 87th position in the shuffled list. That’s not random. And that’s not what most people think of when they talk about “shuffling”.

 

So what difference does this make, as long as the song does come up SOMEWHERE in the list?? Well, if you don’t listen to the entire playlist, all the way through, you’ll likely never hear Carnaval de Guaranda. And if this “unpopular” track is always shown near the end of the shuffled list, that means that significantly-more popular tracks will always be shown nearer the beginning of the shuffled list. So you'll be more likely to hear them during an "average" listening session.

 

People rightfully complain that Spotify’s “shuffle” algorithm stinks. If you have sizable playlists, you’re usually not going to listen to the entire playlist in one session. You’ll listen for a few hours to one playlist, then for a few hours to another, and then maybe back to the original. But when you go BACK to the original, you’re starting back at the beginning of a newly faux-shuffled list. So you end up hearing a much stronger concentration of the same songs – even when you have a very large playlist.

 

Even if you did listen to the entire playlist all the way through, do you always want to hear the “unpopular” tracks near the end of that session and the “popular” tracks near the beginning?? If you added it to your own playlist, it’s probably “popular” in your mind.

We understand your situation @bytebodger!

 

We're looking into it and we're working on our shuffle algorithm. Keep an eye on any updates soon.

 

Take care. 

Comments
Erika
Status changed to: Need more info

Hey @bytebodger and welcome to our Community!

 

Can you change the filter in your playlists by following the steps here and let us know if you have the same issue with Shuffle Mode?

 

Also, we'd recommend logging out and back into your account to see if it makes any difference.

 

Take care 🙂

bytebodger

@Erika - Your response makes me wonder if you even bothered to read my original description of the problem.  I had no filter applied to the playlist in question. (For that matter, I don't think I've ever applied a filter to a playlist before.)  In the detailed steps that I gave on how to recreate the issue, nowhere did I ever indicate that I was using a filter on the playlist.  

 

The issue that I'm talking about (and which was spelled out explicitly in my original post) is that a less-popular song that I've added to a list of popular songs constantly get sorted very near the bottom of the list when I shuffle/reshuffle the playlist.  

 

The screen where you can see this isn't actually on the playlist page.  It's on the Play Queue page.  This is where you can see the newly-shuffled list of songs that are queued up to be played.  This is also where you can see how they're reshuffled when you toggle the shuffle button off-then-on-again.

bytebodger

@Erika - I'm starting to wonder whether the shuffling algorithm favors tracks based on how long they've been in the playlist (as opposed to the track's overall popularity).  I say this because your response prompted me to go back and rerun my shuffling test based on my playlist of 100 popular rap songs.

 

I noticed that now, the unpopular track which was purposely added to the list for the sake of testing (Carnaval de Guaranda) seems to show up randomly anywhere in the shuffled list when I toggle the shuffle button on/off.  So does that mean the issue is fixed?   Umm... no.  

 

To test further, I removed one of the popular songs from the playlist, added a new track that I found on Forgotify (Homenaje a los Panchos - latin music must be very unpopular on Spotify...) and then I repeated my tests from the original post.  Now, the newly-added track (Homenaje a los Panchos) keeps getting sorted very near the bottom of the list, even though my original testing track (Carnaval de Guaranda) now seems to be properly shuffled into the playlist every time I toggle the shuffle feature on/off.

 

So this makes me wonder whether the shuffling algorithm is favoring songs that been in the playlist longer?  If that's the case, it's still jacked up.  And I have no reason to believe that my original complaint is invalid or has been addressed in any way.

bytebodger

@Erika - Maybe it would help if I gave everyone more-generic steps to recreate the issue?  

 

  1. Create a playlist of 99 popular songs.
  2. Go to Forgotify and find an upopular song.
  3. Add the unpopular song to the playlist.
  4. Go to the playlist and start playing it.
  5. Open the Play Queue screen.  This should show you every track from the playlist in the order they are set to play.
  6. Toggle the shuffle button on.  (If the shuffle button was already on, toggle it off-then-on-again).  This will force the shuffle algorithm to recalculate the list of tracks in the Play Queue screen.  
  7. Find the position of the unpopular song in the Play Queue (note: if the position is higher than #80, you will need to click "play" on the 80th track in the playlist - this will cause the Spotify app to load the last 20 supposedly-shuffled tracks into the playlist).
  8. Toggle the shuffle button off-then-on-again to force it to "reshuffle" the tracks.  Note the position of the newly-added unpopular track again.
  9. Repeat the shuffling process 50x (or as many times as you need to confirm the effect).

For the record:

  1. I have applied no filter to the original playlist. 
  2. I have applied no sorting to the original playlist.  
  3. I have tried restarting the entire Spotify app after adding the new, unpopular track to the playlist and it seems to make no difference.
Erika

Thanks for all the info @bytebodger!

 

We've addressed your main complaint and taking into account your second test. We've found that this seems to be related to shuffling playlists over 100 tracks. We have a separate thread for this, which we'll continue to update when with any new updates. Check it out here. We're still working on this and we'll give you an update as soon as we have it.

 

Take care. 

bytebodger
@Erika: "We've addressed your main complaint" - Uhhh... HOW have you addressed the main complaint?  The problem is still in place.  Nothing has changed.  This "customer service" is what infuriates people.  When you mark a thread as "not an issue" or "implemented" or "fixed" when nothing has been changed, that angers your paying customers.  When you state in a support thread that you've addressed the main complaint - but nothing has changed - that angers your paying customers.  
The original issue hasn't changed.  I only restated the issue in a more generic sense in my last reply so that you might have an easier time re-creating it.  
"and taking into account your second test... "  Again, I have to wonder if you (or anyone at Spotify) is actually READING any of my descriptions.  The second test IS THE SAME ISSUE as the first test.  The "second test" is simply the first test stated in a more generic way.
And the link you give that is supposed to address the "second test" has nothing to do with the issue I've explained in my step-by-step directions.
Erika
Status changed to: Not An Issue

We understand your situation @bytebodger!

 

We're looking into it and we're working on our shuffle algorithm. Keep an eye on any updates soon.

 

Take care.