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Managing Spotify playlists has always been tricky whenever you have more than a few dozen playlists to keep track of: you soon end up with a big long list of albums and playlists that’s difficult to search through. As a workaround, I used the Firefox Bookmark Manager to store my “overspill” of playlists (where a playlist is usually an album or custom list of songs). I had folders named as genre tags and kept it all synced and backed-up using Xmarks. Then Spotify released a client update with a Folders option for grouping playlists together. This improved the situation tremendously, but many of the original difficulties remain: for example, I now listen to Spotify mostly on my Android smartphone where the Folders feature is yet to be implemented. But now I think I’ve found the ultimate Spotify playlist manager: it’s Delicious!
The Problem with Spotify Folders
Playlist Folders were a much-needed addition to the Spotify client but there are still several problems with them:
- They’re not implemented in Spotify Mobile. Your thousands of playlists might be neatly collected on Spotify Desktop, but once on Spotify Mobile they become a giant long list.
- They’re difficult to sort: added playlists are in a “when added” order. If you want to sort them you need to do it manually.
- You can’t search based on a folder name.
- You can’t have the same playlist in multiple folders (unless you create duplicates). So if your Spotify folders are genre names, that alt-rock folk-jazz punk band you like can only be in one genre.
The Perfect Spotify Playlist Manager for Android
When I posted about the Firefox Bookmark Manager
solution last year, my Twitter friend @mi
suggested I try online bookmark manager del.icio.us
instead. I had a look but wasn’t convinced, it seemed too much of a fudge. But no easy syncing and flat webpages meant that the Bookmark Manager fix becomes cumbersome when you try to use it for Spotify Mobile. I searched through the Android market for some kind of URL manager database and discovered Andricious:
a slick delicious.com
app for Android with a host of features. I checked Delicious again and quickly realised that combining these could be the perfect solution for Spotify playlist management!
Delicious is a cloud-based bookmark manager that lets you tag, save and manage bookmarks. Since it’s designed for managing web links Delicious is perfect for handling Spotify albums, playlists, and links. Delicious also has a heap of social sharing features, but for the purposes of a Personal Spotify Playlist Manager you don’t realoly need any of that. For each bookmark you can assign one or multiple tags. I use Last.fm
-style genre tags, so the fact that a playlist can have as many tags as you want is perfect for “cross-genre” albums and artists. Whether you want a dedicated spotify
tag depends on whether you want to use Delicious for other, regular website bookmarks. I don’t so all my tags are music genres.
Note that Spotify URIs (the direct spotify: ones) are locked as “dangerous” by the Delicious webapp, meaning that they won’t open from the Delicious website. Luckily the regular HTTP links work fine, and the Andricious app (see below) will open from both.
Andricious widget for Android
There are several Delicious apps for Android, but Andricious is the only one that currently supports Yahoo! logins (if you’re creating a new Delicious account you need to create or use a Yahoo! login). Fortunately Andricious is an excellent app with a heap of useful features:
- Sort by title or date added
- View a tag list or cloud
- Add custom views (e.g. for a combination of tags)
- Auto-complete on searchs and Add forms
- Adds itself to Share To options from other apps
- Widgets for tags and bookmarks as well as search widgets for either
And it’s fast: fast-scrolling and albums open up in Spotify instantly.
Adding New Playlists and Albums
Spotify quietly removed the option to Share To > Delicious recently because it “was getting very little use.” That’s a shame but it doesn’t prevent you from using Delicious with Spotify. Here’s how.
Adding Playlists from the Desktop
Andricious tag cloud
The easiest way to add new albums is to use the Delicious bookmarklet
or one of the browser extensions (FireFox, Chrome, IE). To use, either click on a Spotify URL or paste it into the address bar so that the open.spotify.com
page is displayed in the browser. Then just click the bookmarklet to add the album to your Delicious account. You can add tags in the pop-up window displayed and you may want to tidy up the title field (since it puts it in with the album name first: I prefer to have the artist name first for easier sorting). You can also click the Save a new bookmark
link from your delicious account page then paste it the details manually. For albums, be sure to add the album link instead of your playlist link version (if applicable) since when you delete a playlist from Spotify it’s probably gone for good (see below).
- Select a band or artist name from a webpage.
- Click the Spotify Chrome Extension button.
- Click the artist or album of interest to display the open.spotify page.
- Click the Delicious bookmarklet (or official Chrome extension) to add the album to Delicious.
Adding Playlists from your Android Phone
There’s no sharing options from within the Spotify Mobile app, so you’ll need to use a Share Via option from your mobile browser. Luckily Andricious includes one: view the open.spotify web page, select Share Page > Andricious then edit the album details as above. The Andricious tag field helpfully includes an autocomplete option too.
Browsing Your Playlists and Albums
The Andricious widgets are quick and easy to use, and the auto-complete on the search widgets is fantastic. Browsing playlists and albums is faster and more feature-rich than using Spotify itself, and there’s no scalability worry about having too many playlists. You can also use the regular Delicious webpage on the desktop then use the Chrome to Phone
extension to send the playlist to Spotify on your phone: simple!
Footnote: The Problem with Custom Playlists
I’d previously thought that Spotify stored playlist details permanently, even when you delete the playlist from your Spotify client. This was useful as I’d gotten into the habit of de-cluttering my ever-growing list of playlists be saving them as Windows Shortcuts and deleting them from the Spotify client. I could later go to the Windows folder, double-click the shortcut, then listen to the playlist again in Spotify. Unfortunately I now find that many of these playlists are empty: Spotify must be deleting playlist details when no-one is subscribed to them. This means that you need to permanently keep you custom playlists in Spotify. If you have lots of them this soon starts to become difficult to manage again, especially on Spotify Mobile. Of course there’s nothing to say you can’t keep them in another Spotify account: just create a backup Spotify account then friend yourself to create a link between the two. Copy your custom playlists across then delete the ones you want backed up from your main account. They’re still in easy-reach from your backup account and you can be secure in the knowledge that they won’t disappear on you…