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.

  © 2017 Jer White / Pansentient League.
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