Spotify, one of the world’s leading music streaming platforms, has faced questions about the randomness of its shuffle feature. While the platform employs algorithms to ensure song variety, many users have noticed patterns that seem less than random.
This article delves into the intricacies of Spotify’s shuffle algorithm, its evolution, and how it compares to other music streaming services.
Is Spotify shuffle truly random?
Spotify shuffle is not truly random.
Since its release, Spotify has used a method called the Fisher-Yates shuffle to randomize songs. This method ensures a completely random order.
However, true randomness can sometimes feel less random to us.
For instance, if you flip a coin multiple times, getting heads four times in a row might seem unusual, but it’s entirely possible in a random sequence.
This misunderstanding of randomness is known as the “Gambler’s fallacy.”
Spotify users didn’t like hearing songs from the same artist close together, even if it was a result of true randomness. So, Spotify decided to adjust its shuffling method to make users happier.
According to the Spotify Engineering department, Spotify created its own “shuffle” algorithm. The main idea was to spread songs from the same artist more evenly throughout a playlist.
Imagine you have a playlist with songs from multiple artists. The new method tries to distribute each artist’s songs evenly across the playlist. This way, you won’t hear two songs from the same artist play right after each other, but the order still feels random.
How does Spotify’s shuffle compare to Apple Music’s?
In my experience, Apple Music’s shuffle feature seems more random than Spotify’s. The Apple Music shuffle isn’t perfect, but it’s intuitive.
Apple Music has a “Fresh Shuffle” shortcut. You set a number of days, and it avoids songs you’ve heard during that time. For example, setting it to 30 days means it skips songs you’ve heard in that period but shuffles the rest. It’s awesome and I use it all the time.
However, it’s not a built-in Apple Music feature. You need to add the Shortcuts widget to your iPhone or iPad’s Home Screen and then set up a custom Shortcut for Fresh Shuffle.
How to make Spotify shuffle better (more random)
The Spotify shuffle algorithm isn’t perfect. Several users noticed that the algorithm prioritizes songs that Spotify perceives you enjoy the most.
The environment in which the Spotify app operates might change, making the original algorithm less effective. For example, changes in user behavior or market dynamics.
There might be coding errors or bugs that prevent the algorithm from executing correctly.
If you feel like the Spotify shuffle feature keeps playing the same songs, here are some things you can do to make it more random.
1. Turn off Automix
If Spotify shuffle keeps playing the same songs, try turning off Automix.
On mobile, go to Home > Settings > Playback > Automix. On the desktop version, click your profile name and select Settings > Playback > Automix, and turn it off.
Automix is an AI feature on Spotify that automatically mixes content by skipping intros and outros to produce seamless transitions between tracks.
Turning off Automix helps achieve a random shuffle on Spotify.
After I turned off Automix, my 2,000-song list played more randomly. I found out that Automix plays songs that are similar. If you disable it, you’ll get a more random series of songs.
2. Shuffle your playlists manually
I’ve done some testing. The Spotify shuffle function is not limited to 150 songs. It can see about 100 songs near your current position in the playlist.
Don’t believe me? Try it.
Scroll to a random song in the middle of your Liked songs or any other list. Play the song, then click Shuffle. The shuffle function will mostly pick songs near the one you played.
Try this on your phone. The Spotify shuffle feature there is more random. While Spotify might favor songs you play often, it does consider the whole playlist.
If your playlist has many songs, choose a song and then press the Shuffle button multiple times. Doing so will create a new Shuffle queue.
3. Alphabetize song titles
Change the order of playlists by sorting them by song title. Then, play the list in order from A-Z. This method is not the best solution, but it’s better than nothing for now.
I told my friend about this hack and he was able to get a random queue of songs.
4. Turn on repeat before the shuffle
If you have a huge number of songs in your library, try turning on repeat before shuffling.
I’ve used this method on my larger playlists with over 2,000 songs. Before using this method, Spotify would play only about 30 songs from my 2,000-song list.
After turning on repeat before shuffling, I was able to get a more randomized queue of songs.
5. Use the Spotify Playlist Randomizer
If nothing works for you from within the Spotify app, you can try using a third-party tool to randomize your music. I discovered a tool that can randomize playlists effectively.
It’s called Spotify Playlist Randomizer. Make sure it’s the one from Steven Aleong. This tool changes the order of songs in your playlist.
After using it, you can play the list without needing the shuffle feature.
To use the tool, you’ll have to authenticate your Spotify account. Your authentication details are saved only for your current session. Once your session ends with the site, you’ll have to authenticate again to use the tool.