Managing Your Spotify Music Collection

I’ve blogged before about the best way to manage your Spotify music collection, but I’ve fine-tuned things a bit since then (and Spotify have simplified playlist drag-and-drop recently) so here’s a refresher.

UPDATE 14/10/2010Have a look at Delicious!

Alternatives

One option is to just use the Spotify client itself. This is fine when you only have a small number of playlists or albums you want to track, but get above 20 or 30 and this becomes impossible to manage. You can’t sort them, you can’t group them, the only basic hack is to create empty playlist dividers as a visual reference.

Another option is to use one of the many playlist sharing sites that are out there. Unfortunately these are all aimed at sharing with others. Most will let you bookmark a list of your own playlists, but the effort to add and manage lots of playlists is not worth it. There is however one site that’s designed for personal playlists: Spotify Collections. This site also makes your playlists available to all, but it’s main emphasis is on creating a personal collection. I blogged about it here and recommend you give it a go (also glad to say that the custom playlist option is now working perfectly).

Using Browser Bookmarks

My current preferred way to manage playlists though is to use my web browser’s bookmark manager coupled with a few plugins. This way I have a large, searchable, sortable list of all my albums that’s synchronized, backed-up, and available to me wherever I have Spotify (home, work, laptop, friend’s house etc.).

Here’s what you need:

And here’s how to set it up:

  1. Install the above three things.
  2. In the Firefox bookmark manager, create a New Folder for your music. Ideally put this in your Bookmarks Toolbar to make it even easier to access.
  3. Create some sub-folders, for example a folder for each genre. That’s how I did it, but alternatively you could group alphabetically and create a folder called A, one called B, another called C etc. Or maybe group by year with one called 2009, one called 2008 and so in. It’s up to you how you group things. Here’s what mine looks like:

play2

Adding Music

So now you’re ready to track all your music. Drag-and-drop an album (or any playlist) from Spotify to your desktop, then drag-and-drop it into the relevant folder in your bookmark manager. In other words:

  1. Find the album on Spotify.
  2. Drag to a Windows folder. This creates an Internet Shortcut which includes the artist and album name.
  3. Drag the shortcut to the Firefox Bookmark Manager (Bookmarks > Organize Bookmarks).

You can then add some tags if you like. I add a year tag to each album (just read the year from Spotify). I find this useful so that I can, say, search for all Metal albums released in 2008. I blogged about this step in detail last month.

pl1

Firefox Add-Ons for Spotify Bookmarks

The Show Parent Folder Add-on makes the search results easier to read, as you can view the Parent Folder (or in my case, the genre) that the album belongs to.

The Xmarks Add-on handles the backup, syncing, and availability of my playlists (as well as all my other website bookmarks). The latest Google Chrome includes a feature like this built-in so you could always try it in there instead of Firefox.

One other add-on you might want to check out is Bookmark Previews. This adds image previews and cover flow to bookmarks. This is so very nearly the killer add-on for Spotify playlist management. Unfortunately it won’t get the album art from Spotify and there’s no way to add your own album art file to a bookmark: it insists on automatically getting a snapshot from the bookmarked site itself. I asked the developer about this but he said he can’t take screenshots of an application easily from Firefox.

Searching Through Your Collection

To browse, just use the toolbar folder as shown in the first image above. To search for specific entries, open the Bookmark Manager then search from there:

lib1

Do you have any alternative ways to manage all your Spotify playlists? If so, please let us know in the comments! 

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  • Hi Afront,

    Thanks for the mention. Also, is your RSS feeds working. I have subscribed to your blog in google reader but it never updates. The last feed I received was 31st July.

    Cheers,
    Alan (http://spotifycollections.com)

  • Hi Alan, if you subscribed last weekend then the feed URL will be a temporary one that’s now dead (it took a couple of days to transfer the domain). Sorry for the hassle but can you try un-subscribing then re-subscribe again? Cheers.

  • All good now!

  • mi

    I tried setting up this method the last time you blogged about it, but it just didn’t work for me. I have 100+ Spotify playlists, most of which are mixed genres and not just single albums.

    I use the empty playlist dividers method you allude to, and it’s fine for me. I also keep track of my favourite playlists in Delicious so I have a backup in case Spotify loses all my lists, as it almost did once.

    Spotify will eventually improve playlist management in the app. They have to.

  • Hi Michelle, thanks for the comment. I agree that Spotify’s own playlist management has got to improve, or at least be open to a possible custom 3rd-party plugin. I’ve never used Delicious but that sounds like a good alternative.

  • Stefan

    Hi, I have the same problem as Alan had. Been subscribing since March, but after 31 July I have received no updates. Will try to re-subscribe and see if it helps.

  • OK, let me know if works for you Stefan. I will post an update tonight or tomorrow. I tested it myself and it seemed to work OK (although it did seem to take 30 mins or so before updates appeared in my Feedly).

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  • Filip

    yes, yes, ….! Thank You.
    Didn’t want to switch back from chrome, but it works just the same, plus bookmark-sync is up & running.
    Cheers
    Fil

  • Cheers Fil, good to know this works in Chrome too!

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  • Gerard

    To manage your bookmarks you can use a bookmark manager called Advanced Url Catalog.

  • Thanks for the tip, I’ll check it out!

  • I’ve been using Spotify for over a year, but just discovered your site yesterday (whoa).  So happy to find it.

    And I know this particular entry is old, but man… after increasing my library size to >3000 tracks last night (importing from Rhapsody), I’m realizing that not having an album view for instance is HUGELY frustrating.  Made me think of your CD-rack photo in your ebook; I’ve long since ripped all my CDs, but now I really miss having a visual quick-view of my albums.  I’d be so happy if Spotify just added a cover-flow type view to Library and Starred!!!

    In the meantime, I did come up with one potentially interesting workaround:  manually entering some of my favorite albums into Evernote and then adding the spotify: link to each one.  I’ve verified that I can indeed click on one of those links in Evernote and have the album come up quickly in Spotify.  I think that’s probably even quicker than using browser bookmarks, especially given the outstandingly fast search capabilities of Evernote.

    (oh, and I see spotifycollections is now a parked domain.  Bummer!)

    Anyway, I plan on reading more from your site and ebook soon.  Thanks for the great resources!

  • Thanks for your comment Adam! The art of playlist management still eludes me (and Spotify it seems), although I was reasonable happy enough with Delicious until they went and messed around with it (now I can’t find my genre tags unless I remember what I called them). 

    A cover-flow view is still an ultimate goal. Spotify’s recent Devices view is a step towards it, but it’s just a static view (no drag and drop or flick through covers) and again becomes an unmanageable mess once you get up 100 or so playlists. 

    Your Evernote idea sounds interesting – I will need to investigate that further! What I liked about Delicious was that I could assign multiple tags to a link. So, I’d have say a tag “synthpop” and a tag “new wave” on the same link, but could view all links with at least one of those tags, for example. But there’s no option to add coverart to a link in Delicious – perhaps their new “stack” feature might be the solution.

    Yeah spotifycollections is awol unfortunately, although I never did really use it that much as it was too much work to add lots of albums to.

    Cheers,

    Jer

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