I absolutely bloody love Spotify. For a set fee each month I can listen to as much music as I like, sync thousands of tracks to my phone and discover completely new artists with ease. Socialites will love the Facebook integration, which makes it easy to send tracks to one another and the recently added Spotify apps makes Spotify a platform for music, not just a streaming service.
If you’ve invested time and money in playlists and a subscription, it makes sense to learn some of the lesser known functions and quirks that the Spotify client has to offer. There’s no denying the platform is intuitive and easy to use, but you’d be forgiven for missing some of the more advanced features.
Here are some of the less-obvious things you can do to make your time with Spotify even better.
Organize Playlists With Folders
This might be obvious to some, but playlists can be organised into folders to keep them tidy. This can be especially useful to organize by genre, era or to keep all your artist-specific or soundtrack playlists in one tidy location.
Create a new playlist folder using the New Playlist Folder option in the File menu, or by using the Ctrl+Shift+N, or Cmd+Shift+N on the Mac version. If you’ve got a ton of playlists you’d like better organised then playlist folders are the answer.
Use Advanced Search Parameters
One of the lesser-known powerful features found in Spotify’s repertoire, advanced search parameters can be used to search by genre, label and more simply by using search parameters. You can use the following commands to perform specific searches:
- Genre e.g. “genre:rock in your honor” searches for “in your honor” in “rock” only. For a full list of genres, see Spotify Gateway. You can also just search for a genre in general, e.g. “genre:ambientbreakbeat” for a list of ambient breakbeat tracks.
- Title e.g. “title:in your honor” searches for “in your honor” in titles only. This does not include album titles or artist names, only song titles.
- Artist e.g. “artist:foo fighters” for “foo fighters” in artist names only.
- Album e.g. “album:there is nothing left to lose” for “there is nothing left to lose” in album titles only.
- Year e.g. “year:2005 in your honor” searches for “in your honor” releases from 2005 (matches all fields). Can also be used to specify a range, e.g. “year:1990-1995 oasis” for Oasis releases between 1990 and 1995.
- Label e.g. “label:ninja-tune” to find artists on the Ninja Tune label. The dash appears to be necessary for all spaces, e.g. “hospital-records” but partial matches also work like “roadrunner” for Roadrunner Records.
Update Your Local Music Tags
Spotify uses Gracenote, a database of music with more than 130 million tracks under its wing. Under the Library > Local list of tunes you can select as many tracks as you’d like then right click (Control-click or two-finger click on Mac) and choose Update info from Gracenote to ensure your tags are correctly organised.
Specify A Time When Sharing Tracks
The sharing aspect is one of the best parts of Spotify, and that’s what makes Facebook integration so useful. While sharing via HTTP link and Spotify URI is all good and well, it is also possible to specify a time from which the shared track should play.
In order to do this, simply add #<time> to the end of the link. So in order to link to the 3 minute 10 second mark in this track the Spotify URI would look like:
For HTTP links the same trick will work, and the same song would look like:
Master Keyboard Shortcuts
There are an exhaustive number of keyboard shortcuts that any Spotify power-user will want to master, and these range from the basic Ctrl/Cmd+N for a new playlist and Ctrl/Cmd+C for copying tracks to Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+Down to mute the client and Ctrl/Cmd+G to show individual artwork next to each track.
You can see the full list above, or alternatively bookmark or share this page for future reference.
View Popular Tracks
The Top Lists option in the sidebar shows you the top tracks and albums in your locale by default. In addition to being able to view what’s popular in the entire world or by other region you can also change this to show artists and your own personal top 20 albums and tracks.
Simply click the drop down next to each column to choose between artists, albums and tracks as well as global, national or your own personal top tracks. The list appears to be reset every week, but it makes for a nice short-term use of your listening data.
Dragging a track from Spotify into an instant messaging window or body of an email will provide you with a nice HTTP link (not a Spotify URI) which your friends can click and use to listen. You can also drag tracks from the main Spotify listing on tracks straight onto the friends column on the right in order to share.
This works with playlists too. If you’re after a quick playlist choose some tracks with the Ctrl or Cmd button (you can use Shift to specify a range of tracks too) then drag them onto the New Playlist button – bam, instant playlist creation!
If you’ve paid for it, and your Internet connection can handle it, then you will probably want to enable high quality streaming from the Preferences (Ctrl/Cmd+P) panel under Playback. This panel also includes options to enable the crossfader, which will mix your tracks – albeit roughly – together.
One last thing that I disabled from the word go was the Hide Unplayable Tracks option which is on by default. This shows unplayable (due to any reason) tracks as greyed out selections, and is useful when you’re wondering whether something has disappeared or are deciding just how restrictive certain regions can be.
Hopefully these tips will help you get that little bit more out of Spotify, if you’ve got any favourites or ones we haven’t mentioned here then be sure to share in the comments below!
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