4 Ways You’re Using Spotify Wrong Without Even Knowing It

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Spotify, which has gotten plenty of coverage from us, has quickly become a prime contender in the music streaming industry. It offers an attractive deal: all the music you could want for free, as long as you can put up with a few ads here and there. If you opt for the Premium package, at $10 a month, you lose the ads and pick up some bonus features, too.

However, whether you’re satisfied with what you get in Spotify Free or opt for Premium, you’re probably using the service inefficiently in some aspect. Read on to see how you can experience Spotify the right way.

Your Playlists Are A Mess

Does your Spotify selection of playlists look like this?

Spotify Messy Playlists

Perhaps you created a multitude of playlists consisting of albums for offline listening on your phone, as you used to be unable to select an entire artist or album for offline use. If you’ve still been doing this, it’s time to bring your playlists under control.

First, let’s review playlist groups. In the Spotify desktop program, head to File > New Playlist Folder or use the shortcut Control + Shift + N to make a new group. These allow you to put any number of playlists into a single group; greatly cutting down on the noise in one step.

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Spotify Playlist Group

Try putting all of your offline playlists into one folder – then you don’t have to worry about playlists you only use on your phone when you’re on your desktop.

Even after you’ve done this, there’s more you can do to tame your collection of playlists. With Spotify’s new “Your Music” feature, you can bring your favorite albums and songs together and completely forget playlists when listening to a single artist or album.

Spotify Your Music

To use “Your Music”, look for the plus icon when listening to anything on Spotify. Clicking this adds the current album or song to Your Music for later use. The “Save” button is equivalent.

Spotify Your Music - Save

“Your Music” can then be selectively listened to, whether online or offline (if you have Premium). Only like certain songs by Johnny Cash? Cherry-pick your favorites, then sync the Cash section of Your Music to your phone. No more album playlists!

Spotify Your Music - Plus

Finally, here’s a super-secret playlist tip: if you make a new playlist and name it “-” (without the quotes), it will become a divider. Super handy for even more organization!

Spotify Playlist Divider

You Share Everything That You Listen To With Everyone

There’s no doubt that Spotify is a social service, and we’ve covered some ways to take advantage of those social features. However, if you use Spotify as your main music source and don’t want everything you do on the service being broadcast to the world, you’ll want to shut these features off. How many times have you seen this on Facebook?

Spotify Facebook Story

Do you really want all of your friends to see every track you listen to? All of the social features are enabled by default, but it’s easy to turn Spotify into a quiet, personal service. Let’s take a look.

First, you’ll want to dive into Preferences, located under Edit > Preferences on Spotify’s desktop program, or use the Control + P shortcut. Here, you’ll find a number of social features.

Spotify Activity Sharing

You don’t necessarily need to uncheck all of these; if you like to use Last.fm‘s Scrobble feature to discover new music and have its settings under control, it’s probably safe to leave that on. The most important boxes are the ones that share to your followers and to Facebook. Get rid of those check marks and you’ll stop sending out all of your listening history. It’s also a good idea to make your new playlists private by default.

If you only want to shut off Facebook and Spotify sharing at certain times, you can use a private session. Just click your name in the top-right section of the desktop client to enable a Private Session, which lasts for six hours. This will have the same effect as turning off the sharing boxes, only temporarily.

Spotify Private Session

And if you’re only using Spotify on mobile, you can access your sharing settings though the Preferences menu in the same way.

Spotify Mobile Privacy

For maximum privacy, you can quickly check if your playlists are visible to only you. Just right-click any playlist, and if you see an option to “Make Public,” then it’s not shared. If it’s currently public, you’ll have the option to “Make Secret.”

Spotify Public Playlist

You Look Up Lyrics In A Separate Window

How many times have you searched Google for a song’s lyrics and visited a site like AZLyrics or MetroLyrics? There’s nothing wrong with lyrics sites, but you can use apps inside Spotify to get real-time lyrics while listening to a track instead. It’s faster and more fun.

Head to the App Finder in Spotify’s sidebar; from there you’ll have access to plenty of free apps that enhance Spotify.

Spotify App Finder

The one you’ll want to use for real-time lyrics is TuneWiki. At the time of writing, it’s the #1 app in the top charts.

Spotify Top Apps

Once you choose the app, you’ll immediately see lyrics to whatever you’re listening to. A bar across the top will allow you to add TuneWiki to your favorites; click this to stick it in the sidebar right below the App Finder.

Spotify TuneWiki

It works well right out of the box, but if you’d like, you can customize the text and background to your liking. Just click the gear icon in the top-right corner, near the social buttons. You can change the lyrics’ text size and color, the size of the current line, and the spacing between lines.

Spotify TuneWiki Options

Now, whenever you have a song playing in Spotify, you can pull up its lyrics with one click and have them follow along with the song. It might not seem like much, but it will save you a lot of time if you often look up lyrics. Plus, if you leave it open during a song change, it will start displaying lyrics for the new song.

If you’re feeling especially adventurous, try clicking the “Get Creative With Lyric Art” button near the bottom. This will let you set a photo background and change the font of the lyrics – great if the original app looks a little bland to you.

Your Searches Aren’t Efficient

Most people know about Google’s search operators like “AND”, “-“, and “site:”, but did you know that Spotify also allows for advanced search queries? When you type a basic search into Spotify, it tries to match your search terms to artists, albums, and playlists.

Spotify Simple Search

But you can use operators to refine searches and get exactly what you want. You can try searching by year or genre (and even combine these), such as “year:1998-2001 genre:pop.” If you’d like to find a specific user on Spotify, search terms can help you there, too. Type “spotify:user:Ludacris” to go to that user page.

Spotify Advanced Search

Note that if you signed up for Spotify using Facebook, your username is likely a random string of numbers, which is clunky to search for. If you’d like to find your username, just click your name in the top-right (the same place you click to start a Private Session) and click “Account.” A webpage will launch with your account info, including your username numbers.

Spotify Account Numbers

Another way you can search that you might not have known is to use Control + F to filter your playlists. Once you press the command, a small bar pops up in the top-right corner of the playlist.

Spotify Filter

From here, you can type anything and it will filter your playlist in real-time. It allows for the artist, song title, or album.

You can even make a filter of your current playlist, so if you have a big playlist of songs and type “the” in the filter, Spotify will play only songs in that playlist that contain “the” until you change the playlist. The only drawback is that you can’t then use Control + F on artist or album pages, but Spotify has explained why.

Are You A Pro Spotify User Yet?

Hopefully, with these tips you’ll be a pro Spotify user in no time. Though we’ve covered some top tricks for Spotify in the past, the service has changed a lot in a few years, so it’s good to keep the best tricks up-to-date. And of course, be sure to check out the brand new manual for Spotify, which will give you all the info you could ever desire about the green streaming machine.

Did you know about these tricks? Are there any you would add to this list? Do you have any other thoughts on Spotify? The comments section is only a click away!

Image Credits: Group of students Via Shutterstock

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50 Comments - Write a Comment



musiXmach is better than TuneWiki

Ben S

I just checked it out and I actually like it better than TuneWiki. Thanks for the recommendation!

The lyrics look a lot crisper and I like the feature of being able to click on any line of lyrics to jump to them in the song. I think I’ve just replaced TuneWiki.


Efi D

Damn those playlists! I have about 12 playlists :(

Ben S

12 isn’t too bad! I used to have a lot more before the big update came to Android with the Your Music feature. But keeping all of my offline playlists in one folder really helps reduce the clutter.

You can get them under control!

Chuck MacWilliam

Hi Ben,
I used to be able to hover my cursor over the minimized Spotify icon in my task bar and it would show the artist and song currently playing in the player. Now all it shows is “Spotify Premium”. Do you know how I can get that feature back? Thanks.



Thanks for the separator trick! Very usefull.

Ben S

You’re welcome! I actually just found out about that while writing this article – it was news to me. A small trick, but really helpful. I wonder why it’s not well-documented.


Joel B

how about longer time between songs? Is this possible?


Ben S

Joel, unfortunately I do not think that it is. The only solution would be to manually add some empty space after your own tracks, which would be incredibly tedious.


Alonso Vega

What is the full list of search operators? It seems like a really useful feature.

Ben S


I apologize for not including these. Tim’s article, linked to at the end of this one, detailed them a bit more than I did. But you can check this page for a complete list of these commands. Thanks for commenting and happy searching!



I’m on a Chromebook. Love it, but no desktop Spotify application, so I have to use the web, which means that so many of these great tips don’t apply :( But thanks!

Ben S

Glad these helped you! Happy listening!


Same! I still love the setup of the Chrome App, though. It seems incredibly polished.



Hi Ben, What about lyrics when using spotify on an iPhone? I haven’t found any way to do this. Help!

Ben S

Ezb, it’s a bit harder on mobile. You have a few options, none of which are perfect:

– Scan a song with Shazam, which will pull up its lyrics in real time.

– Use the app SoundHound, any you can pull up lyrics to any song on your phone. This won’t work in Spotify, however.

– Try TuneWiki’s iOS app, but you have to search for the song manually.

Sorry this isn’t perfect!



Spotted the app. It seems like a virus that will ruin my privacy?

Ben S

What app are you talking about?



Spotify. I joined Facebook once. All of a sudden, I was bombarded with requests. I suspect Spotify is the same?


Juan Maria Solare (pianist, composer)

Hi Ben,
Can you give tips about optimizing Spotify for Artists?
Yes, I already know my memory the official page spotifyartists.com/ – I mean something which is not there.

The goals are 2: being discovered as an artist and earning some royalties (which, I can tell you with one hand on my monthly Statement, are lower than the figures mentioned in most internet pages).

Have a nice day
Juan Maria Solare



For free spotify. When will I get a free next button.. I’ve been listening for almost 10 songs, then I try to hit the next button and it works. I was just wondering if it add me some next button when I listen to a song or two from start to end?



Been using Spotify for years, never knew about any of this. Thank you so much. More Please!!!

Ben S

Glad you liked it! Keep an eye out for more tips in the future!



Unfortunately, playlist folders are *still* not implemented in the web player. People have been asking for that ever since the web client went public, as it becomes very tedious as soon as you have a few playlists. I don’t get why they keep ignoring such an essential and assumingly simple to implement feature. But Spotify have a track record of working hard on all the stuff people don’t want, and taking years to acknowledge the simplest, most obvious, most widely requested bugfixes. I have hundreds of playlists in about a dozen folders, and loading the list of playlists in the web player takes about a minute, if it decides to work at all.

Thanks for the tip on the dividers, I didn’t know about that one! And search options definitely need to be made more widely known, lest Spotify will start disregarding power user features like these if they think people don’t use them. It’s a trend among tech companies to do that, everything is simplified down to a complete lack of functionality.



Great help thanks. I have premium. So I am a bit confused as to why I c get adele’s 21. Any ideas?

Ben S

Alan, I don’t understand your question. Are you seeing an ad for the album 21 by Adele? Or can you not listen to the album?



Thank you for these tips, my lists looks much cleaner now :)
I have a question; I keep getting a song (ABBA-dancing queen haha) randomly in my lists, sometimes multiple times in each list… And know that i’ve put the playlists in folders like you showed me, i can only see the songs when i’m in the big folder, and when i go to erase them in my playlists they are nowhere to be seen… Thus i can not take away intruding ABBA :(
Any help?

Ps. i think this is what Alan meant to :)


Ben S

I’m glad you found the tips useful and got your playlists under control!

I still don’t quite understand what you’re asking. Is there any way you could provide a screenshot of what you’re seeing?

Are you saying that a song is appearing in your playlists without adding it to one, or is it becoming its own playlist?


Thank you for such an fast answer! :)

It is appearing in my playlists without adding it to one. I always react to it because it
mostly appears in my “Rock”-list, and it doesn’t quite fit in to say the least…
I may be able to take a screenshot sometime for you if you need it, but as of right now
i’m an not on a device that i can log in to Spotify on.



I found really good use of the divider and the folders. After my friend complained I only had one giant playlist, I started separating my artists into playlists, which was nice for others to find what I listen to, but a bit annoying for me to see all those playlists. Now, I got one playlists, a playlist folder and a divider in between. Thanks a lot.

Ben S

That’s awesome! Keeping each artist in a playlist can get annoying, but is necessary sometimes too. Glad I could solve your problem!


Alex L

I love Spotify. I’m not sure if this feature exists but it will be nice to sort albums by year in ascending or descending order. Nice tut. Thanks.



I have a playlist for a first grade play I’m doing with snippets of songs (about 30 seconds each) but now when I play those songs, not from the playlist, they only play the 30 seconds. How can I fix this?



One feature that blows all this to hell is that if you use Adblockplus with the web version, it blocks all ads even if you’re not premium!


Francesca @onegrloneworld

Wow, this was super useful!!



Is this article out of date now? My Spotify does not have the option to make folders in the File menu.



I have been using Spotify for years and have always created my Playlists by Artist – adding all albums by one artist into a playlist named the artist. With the newer versions, this doesn’t seem like the new view of Albums/Artists/Songs necessarily bring the albums I have already identified into the new view. any advice how to do a mass add so I don’t need to go to each playlist? I think it has to do with the old Star method, as well as whether they were saved or not. Any advice?

Ben S

I’m not totally sure what you’re asking here, but I know that the latest update to Spotify really screwed a lot of things up.

It sounds like that you’re trying to do is make “My Music” show all the albums you’ve added to any playlist. There really isn’t a way to do this besides manually saving each album to your music. It shouldn’t be too hard – just go into each playlist you want to save, CTRL + A to select all, and then right-click and save to your music. That will get it into your collection and you can get rid of or stop using the playlists after that.

If I read your question wrong, please let me know.


Yeah that is what I was afraid of. You read it right. I have hundreds of playlists so will take time, thus looking for a workaround. Thanks for the insight here and above!

Ben S

I wish there was an easier solution I could think of, but Spotify isn’t exactly going in this direction lately. Best of luck and feel free to report back to me if something works out!


Julie Johnson

Someone has just followed my private playlist – how is this possible?!



Is there a way to play ONLY the songs on a playlist? When I make a playlist and try to play its songs, it plays one song from that list and then a random song (from the same artist) comes up (as if it turns the playlist into a radio of that artist or such). This only happens with a playlist I myself create. When I added/imported a playlist from a friend’s shared Spotify link, the playlist worked fine, playing ONLY the songs listed. I thought it might be because I’m using the free Spotify version and not the premium, but my friend uses the free version as well. So, I’m a bit confused. Let’s say my playlist has 10 songs – I just want to be able to play only those 10 songs. Is it possible at all in the free version? Thanks for your help.

Ben S

I’m honestly puzzled by what you’re seeing. When you select a song in a playlist, it should play music from just that list. I would suggest posting on Spotify’s forums or re-installing the desktop app, because I haven’t heard of this problem before.

When you check the play queue, is the song you selected the “now playing” track? The others in the playlist should follow it to complete the queue.



Spotify App was not working from Windows App store so I uninstalled it, now I cannot find it in the windows app store to reinstall it, can you help?

Ben S

Ivy, I don’t use Windows 8 so I can’t check for myself, but I don’t see a Windows 8 Metro app for Spotify anywhere. Could they have phased it out, perhaps?

This is the download link for the regular Spotify Windows desktop program:




Why will my music from Spotify go to my Google play account ever other music app I have ever had and download music it go’s to it automatically



My music will not go from Spotify to my Google player



Thanks for the article.
I am a relatively new user, and have encountered a problem that seems out of the ordinary. I created several playlists; I made one of them Public. If I send a link of the public / shared one to someone, they can see it, play it, and Follow it. However, it does not show up in Search. It has a fairly unique name, and when the name is typed exactly in Search, the results come back as “No match.” What’s up with that? Could there be some sort of a one week or so delay in getting new playlists into the Search database?
Thanks for you insights!


Deirdre Statham

None of the options when you click on Preferences are there any more. I can’t get Tunespeak to acknowledge my Spotify or Facebook either. It DOES NOT give you the option to “Share my activity and what I listen to on Facebook” so I’m totally boned on how to get these to link up because those are the directions given on the damned application.

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