Some Tweaks and Fixes I’d Like to See in Spotify

Spotify’s latest incarnation introduced several game-changing new features, in particular the ability to play local music and an integrated social network. These are brilliant first-steps to a “music utopia” but there a few tweaks and fixes I’d like to see.

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Identifying friends

It’s not entirely intuitive how to add new users when they’re not friends on Facebook. Even when you know their username, it’s difficult to add them. The quickest way I’ve found is to type spotify:user:USERNAME into the search box (provided I can remember the syntax properly, which I usually can’t). Once added, a friend’s name changes from their username (which I’m familiar with from Twitter etc.) to their real name (which sometimes I don’t know). Viewing a Profile page does reveal the username again, however.

Another important thing I’d like to see is a view of who has added me to their list of friends. Currently there’s no way to find out who’s “friended” me to be able to repay the compliment.

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Sharing songs to a friend’s Inbox

It’s really easy to share one song with a friend: drag-and-drop it onto their name in the new People column. But if I want to share a song with, say, 10 friends I need to do this 10 times: there’s no “share with all” or similar option. I’d also really like some way to group friends together (“Family” , “Friends who Like Synthpop” , “Random Stalkers“) as I’m already finding I’m forgetting why I added someone as a friend.

I also forget which songs I’ve shared, so some kind of Outbox would be useful.

But I think the most crucial omission here is that there’s no way to add a note or a message to song that I share. I want to be able say to my friend why I shared a song, and also to thank someone who share songs with me. This might be a little easier if a friend’s profile page had a “contact me” link or similar. IMPLEMENTED!

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Playlists

Playlists used to show the length (total play time) and number of tracks. This useful info disappeared in the last update, although it has shown up on the Local Files page.

Newly added playlists (or albums etc.) are “published” by default, meaning that anyone can see what I’ve added. I like to spend a few days creating a playlist before making it available, so I’d prefer it the other way around (i.e. NOT published by default), or at least let me set the default behavior. UPDATE: the ever-helpful StudleyUK pointed out how to disable auto-publishing of playlists – see the comments!

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Local files

For local files, mp3 is supported but FLAC and WMA files aren’t supported yet. You can’t click on an album to view just that album (like you can everywhere else) and there doesn’t seem to be an indication of the track number. The search filter is useful (if a little hidden: pressing Ctrl-F is the only way to activate it), but it would seem sensible for the filter to work the same way as the regular search: currently you can’t filter based on artist or year, for example.

I’ve heard the Gracenote implementation can be a bit unpredictable. I haven’t had much of a problem here myself, although a few of my playlists seemed to have had tracks inexplicably replaced with live versions of the same song.

And as StudleyUK points out in the comments, local files aren’t scrobbled to Last.fm.

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Other bits and bobs I’d like to see tweaked

Posting to twitter is still a bit hopeless since it doesn’t use a URL shortener. Provided your song title/artist are short it’s OK, otherwise I recommend sharing via spotibot.com (copy the HTTP link into Spotify then click one of the share buttons).

I often get a bit confused about whether a track is local or in the Spotify cloud. I expect telling the difference is something I have to get used to: Does the song have a little note icon? Then it’s a local file. Is the song greyed-out? Then it’s a local file but local on a different machine so not available (I think: some local files are shown greyed-out but I can still play them; other local files are not greyed-out. See – I’m confused!) And I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s tried to share some local playlists with friends.

So those are a few suggestions/whinges on the latest Spotify features. Don’t get me wrong: I think the Spotify social and local play features are killer, but there’s always room for a little improvement. 

  • StudleyUK

    You can set the default behaviour for publishing new playlists – click on your username in Spotify, click the Edit link at the top (i.e. to change published playlists), and there’s a tickbox at the top of the playlists: “Automatically publish new playlists I create”. Untick that.

    Another pro tip: if you share a track/album on Facebook (copy http link > post into Facebook link), the description that you enter into Spotify will appear in your friends’ feeds – so this gives you a way to share with everybody, and explain why you’re sharing – like this.

    Local file support is really, really shaky, particularly around track naming (even if you have nicely-formed ID3 tags, Spotify trumps them with whatever it has in its catalogue = unclean scrobbling). It’s a slightly-convenient way of getting files to my phone without using a transfer cable, but seeing as Spotify Android doesn’t scrobble local tracks to Last.fm, I’m barely using this feature at the moment.

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  • If you like the “add a note to song that I share” idea, vote here on getsatisfaction.

  • tux

    A native client for Linux.

    Playing local files would require us to move the files inside wine’s jail directory structure, this just doesn’t fly.

  • Good ideas and improvements! I’d like to get “Artists suggested to you” back to the opening page of Spotify! Is there any way?

  • Cheers ynard. Spotify’s original Recommended Artists section left a lot to be desired, which is probably why it’s currently missing. Instead, the Related Artists tab was added to each artist page, and you can always uses a service like spotibot to find new tunes.

  • qosmio

    Nice suggestions. I also would like to be able to change the font size in spotify. I use it on my TV and it would be nice to increase the font size within spotify rather than in windows. Changing colours is ok to but not that important:)

    To tux: Read faq about wine on spotify.com You’ll find out how to play local files in linux without moving them. Works perfectly.

  • I’d like to see them bring back the ability to sort subscribed/published playlists in your profile (like in the screencap!) this was removed for 0.5

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