Spotify Hacks You're Not Using (But Should Be)
Listen to music more efficiently.
Whether listening to your refreshed Discover Weekly playlist is part of your Monday morning routine, or you have dozens and dozens of highly curated playlists organized by mood, or you're just looking for the best new music, even the most ardent Spotify users may not be getting the most they can out of the ever-growing and -changing streaming service.
Which is too bad, especially for music lovers who may not realize what they're missing. You may already be well aware that there's a handful of Netflix hacks to elevate your binge-watching experience, so why not bring that superior streaming game over to music, too? Here's a primer on achieving expert-level Spotify user status.
Hear new music as soon as it's released
If you're eager to expose your ears to all of the buzziest new songs ASAP, you should check out the New Music Friday playlist first thing Friday morning to help get that TGIF feeling going. Since most major singles and albums drop Friday these days, Spotify rounds up 99 songs they deem as must-hears to add to the playlist, which you can find by clicking Browse on the sidebar and going to New Releases. New Music Friday features tracks from artists across all genres, so expect to listen to what might become the next big hit or a single from an indie favorite.
If you're more inclined to stick to your own personal tastes, though, you should lend your ears to your Release Radar playlist. Like New Music Friday, it's also updated at the end of the week and features new or recent tunes, but these ones are personalized based on the artists you already listen to. You can find Release Radar nestled up next to New Music Friday in the New Releases tab.
Listen to a different personalized playlist daily
If you're a fan of your Discover Weekly playlist, you'll also want to scope out the playlists in the Your Daily Mix section (accessible on the Home page under Made for You). If you haven't found it already, it boasts six literally never-ending and constantly shuffling playlists, each packed with a particular genre or style of music you frequently listen to. You'll find songs you're already familiar with or deep cuts from artists whose discographies you've dipped into, plus new finds based on the vibe of the mix. The longer you listen, the more songs get added, and the more tracks you'll discover.
Blow your mind with behind-the-lyrics details
If you're stumbling over any of Kendrick Lamar's latest verses and want to read along as you're listening, Spotify's partnership with the annotation site Genius can be a big help. While listening on the mobile app, select tracks allow you to swipe down on the album artwork to reveal an annotated version of the lyrics, providing Pop-Up Video-style context for certain lines and references and giving you a better general understanding of the song.
Stay up-to-date on your favorite artists
You may follow your favorite artists on Instagram to see what it's like behind the scenes on tour, or read their jokes on Twitter, but you should consider hitting the Follow button on an artist's Spotify page, too. That way, you'll be notified when a new release hits the app. Not only will you get an email rounding up new releases from your favorites at the end of the week, you'll get a pop-up once you open the app to make sure you head over to their artist's page to stream their latest drop. Following an artist is also a helpful way to stay in the know when new tour dates are announced or an artist is coming to your city, and that fan privilege often pays off: You could get emailed a pre-sale code for early tickets, too.
Filter search by year (to keep out the crap)
Face it: Artists and bands with long careers are bound to have boon and bust years when it comes to the quality of their work. To get straight to the good stuff, you can easily set search parameters to include results from albums released during a certain timespan or particular year. For instance, if you only want to hear Springsteen's releases from '83 to '85, search using this format in the query window: artist:"Bruce Springsteen" year:"1983-1985." There are actually a ton of advanced search options to find what you're looking for, including by releases from specific record labels. You can see them all right here.
Switch to a Private Session to secretly rock out to guilty pleasures
Don't care to let the people who follow you know that you've been rocking out to Chumbawamba for the better part of a day? Enable the Private Session mode (via the drop-down menu in the upper-right corner on desktop) to listen without the fear of judgment.
Block artists you just can't get into
Sometimes there are artists you just can't stand or don't care to get into; maybe their sound isn't your jam, or maybe you have a personal vendetta against a certain pop star for some reason. Like the Twitter and Instagram mute features before it, Spotify also made a "block" button to prevent the possibility of the app ruining your day by queueing up a triggering hit from that singer who shall not be named. They started rolling out the feature on select users' iOS mobile and tablet devices in early 2019, although it still has yet to hit Android. But if you are one of those lucky, picky users, you can go to the artist page of whoever it is that irks you, hit the three dots in the upper right hand corner, and select "Don't play this artist," then they'll be banned from any charts, playlists, or radio stations you may peruse.
Similarly, you can hide suggestions on your Release Radar, Discovery Weekly, and Daily Mix playlists to give the algorithm a better idea of what's in line with your taste, or who is or isn't on your good side. Maybe you just had to check out the latest Taylor Swift single causing controversy, and now she's infiltrated your Release Radar when you'd rather she not -- you can make a "hide" button visible by highlighting the song, allowing you to click either "I don't like this song" or "I don't like [this artist]." That way, Spotify will quit suggesting them. See ya never, Taylor.
Queue up a group DJ session
Nobody likes to relinquish their control over the aux cord, but when you're on the other side of it, no one likes that one friend who won't share either. With Spotify's Group Sessions feature, though, you don't have to beg your friend to add just one song of your choosing to the queue: It allows a group of Premium users in close proximity to one another (like at a party or hanging out at home) to share control over the tunes. All you need to do is go to the song-mode of a track and click the speaker image in the lower left corner, which will lead you to a page that says "start a group session" with a unique code that others can scan to join. If your friends don't trust you to be the host, you still go to that same page, but click "scan to join" at the very bottom, which will open your camera so you can capture the code on your friend's phone. Then, party (and probably argue about whatever your friend played or how they pressed skip without asking) away!
Make collaborative playlists
Rather than argue over who gets to pick the music for the next road trip, set up a collaborative playlist among your pals so everyone can add what they want to listen to. Right-click on the playlist you want to build, select Collaborative Playlist, and share it with anyone you want.
Add crossfades to your playlists
If you feel like channeling your inner Diplo, you can integrate a crossfade between tracks so your playlist feels seamless. Head to Settings, scroll down to Advanced Settings, and switch on the button for "Crossfade songs."
Create folders for your playlists
If your ever-growing stock of playlists gets out of control just like your browser tabs, head to the file menu on the desktop app, select "New Playlist Folder," and get organized.
Restore deleted playlists
If you accidentally delete a playlist -- or just want to revisit some you've purged in the past -- it's incredibly easy to restore them. Head to your account page, find the "Recover Playlists" tab, and do your thing.
Scope out the latest hits from around the world
Curious what the kids are listening to elsewhere around the world? If you hit the Charts section, you can browse the top 50 tracks by country. There's also a "viral" top 50 ranking for countries, which'll give you the rundown on tracks that are blowing up in other parts of the globe where they use Spotify.
Explore the Fans Also Like section
One of the simplest ways to discover tracks that are new to you is to explore artists Spotify considers similar to your favorites. Head to the Fans Also Like section from a band or singer you're into (just below their discography on their artist page in the app, or next to the Overview tab on desktop), and you'll get links to pages of other artists you might dig.
Let Spotify DJ based on your mood
Spotify cannot only play tunes based on an artist, song, and genre, but also by how you feel. Tap the Browse tab and scroll until you find "Genres & Moods." It's a handy feature, for sure, but user beware.
Link Shazam to keep a playlist of all the songs you've ever looked up
You can create a playlist exclusively for all of the songs you've ever Shazamed. Open your Shazam app, tap the My Shazam icon, and connect your Spotify account -- this will automatically add any song you look up to a new playlist with the default name "My Shazam Tracks."
Archive all your Discover Weekly playlists in one place
If you look forward to your Discover Weekly playlists every Monday, you're probably wondering if there's a way to hold onto that collection of tracks for more than seven days. Fortunately, there's a handy applet that does just that. To enable it, you'll need to sign up for an account on IFTTT ("If This, Then That"), which is a service that allows you to create custom chains of commands for multiple sites and services.
Save money by bundling services
Let's be real: There are only so many streaming services you can subscribe to until it gets to be too much. Luckily, Spotify has some bundle plans to make their Premium plan even more worthwhile. If you're an active student, you're entitled to a 50% discount on Spotify Premium that comes with subscriptions to Hulu and Showtime, too. It's totally free for the first three months, and after that moves into its discounted price point of $4.99 per month. If you already have Hulu or Showtime subscriptions directly from them, don't worry, the deal still works. You can connect your accounts and billing will just switch over automatically to Spotify.
Even if you're not a student, there are others deals available, too. If you come from a large family of music lovers, Premium for Family might be a good option: Rather than each individually paying for your own account, you can sign up for Family for just a little more than the regular Premium pricing at $14.99 per month to share one large account. The Family plan accounts for up to six users, and like the students deal, is also free for the first three months. With it, you still each get your own personal Spotify profile, so don't worry about any dad bands seeping into your suggestions.
Listen to music while you game
If you're sick of hearing the same battle music in whatever video game it is you're playing at the moment, you can use Spotify to play music in-game -- on your PlayStation 4, at least. Download the app to your console and log in; find the artist or playlist you want to listen to and hit play. Boot up your game, and that's it! You'll be able to quick access limited controls -- like pause/play, skip, and a volume scrubber -- in the sidebar menu.
Link your Spotify account to your Tinder profile
If you'd like to offer your potential Tinder suitors more than just half-baked personal info, your star signs, and some grainy selfies, you can link your profile to your Spotify account and give 'em an idea of your musical taste. To do this, head to the Edit Info section in the Tinder app, where you'll have the option to select an "Anthem" as well as divulge your favorite artists.
Find the karaoke lyrics for any song
For those moments when inspiration strikes and and an impromptu karaoke party erupts, linking your Spotify account to SoundHound makes it easy to follow the lyrics as you listen (and sing along) on your phone. First, download the SoundHound app, then link your Spotify account in the settings, queue up whatever track you're in the mood to croon, and follow the lyrics as they're highlighted in orange.
Find new music with plugins
Spotify is famous for its algorithms' ability to surface music you'll like, but there are also a number of third-party services that'll help fill in the gaps. Try MagicPlaylist, which will flesh out entire playlists based on a single song you like. There are several more worth checking out, too.
Support artists and the music industry directly
Like many industries, the music world has taken a hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Artists make the majotiy of their income from touring, and since they can't get out and play right now (and, therefore, music venues can't make money either), Spotify launched its own fundraiser. (If you didn't already know, artists aren't paid a whole lot from streaming). With COVID-10 Music Relief, the streamer made its own donation and plans to match donations from users up to $10,000,000 for a variety of organizations around the world, ranging from an indie label's own relief fund to things like The Grammys' MusiCares foundation. You can contribute online, or support an organization specifically selected by one of your favorite artists by going to their page on mobile and clicking the Music Relief Icon.
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