Spotify Not Working? How to Fix 8 Common Spotify Problems
With 70 million free users and 30 million premium subscribers, Spotify is the undisputed king of music streaming services. In contrast, its nearest competitor, Apple Music, has around 13 million subscribers.
However, being the market leader doesn’t mean Spotify is exempt from problems. Given its huge userbase, the number of devices it supports, and the size of its music catalog, it shouldn’t be surprising that issues can, and do, occur on a regular basis.
Some of those glitches happen more frequently than others. In this article, you’ll find a list of eight of the most common Spotify problems, as well as information on how to fix them.
Note: Before trying these tips, try and replicate your problem on different devices. If the problem occurs everywhere, it’s probably an account-wide issue and you’ll need to contact Spotify.
1. Spotify Could Be Not Started: Error Code 17
This Windows-specific issue has plagued users for several years, and yet it still pops up a lot.
The problem occurs when you try to launch Spotify – everything will appear to be running smoothly, but just as the client is about to open you’ll get an on-screen pop-up and the program will crash.
The solution is potentially two-fold:
- Download the Spotify installer and save it on your desktop.
- Right-click on the installer and select Properties
- Open the Compatibility tab, check the box by Run this program in compatibility mode for:, and choose Windows XP (Service Pack 3)
- Click Apply and run the installer
If that doesn’t work, boot into Safe Mode and repeat the above steps.
2. Cannot Add Local Files to a Playlist
One cool feature Spotify offers is the ability to add your locally saved music into the desktop client; it allows you to mingle Spotify’s tracks with your own tracks in playlists which can then be listened to from anywhere.
Spotify recently changed how its Windows and Mac desktop clients handle local music. Previously, you could drag-and-drop your desired files into a playlist, but now it’s a bit more complicated – the change in process has led some users to mistakenly believe the service was broken.
To add files, head to Edit (Windows) or Spotify (Mac) > Preferences > Local Files. You can ask Spotify to search your iTunes files or your Music Library, or point it in the direction of your saved music.
3. Cannot Download Songs for Offline Playback
Spotify lets you download songs for offline playback. It’s a fantastic feature for the gym, your car, or while you’re away from Wi-Fi, because it means you won’t be eating through your data allowance.
However, there is a little-known restriction. Each device can only sync a maximum of 3,333 songs for listening to offline. If you hit that limit, you won’t be able to download any more tracks until you unsync some of your existing music.
Toggling a playlist’s Available Offline switch will slowly delete its content, though for a speedier resolution, you should delete the cache (I’ll cover how to do that further down).
4. Cannot Add More Tracks to Your Music
In a similar vein to the previous problem, a lot of people also don’t realize that Your Music has a 10,000 song limit. It can lead to a nasty shock when you eventually hit the barrier, throwing your carefully curated library into disarray.
Lots of users have been angry about this restriction for a long time, but Spotify clearly has no plans to change it anytime soon. In a recent statement, the company said:
“We’ve recently reviewed this internally and at the moment we don’t have plans to extend the Your Music limit. The reason is because less than 1% of users reach it. The current limit ensures a great experience for 99% of users instead of an “OK” experience for 100%.”
However, if you’re smart about it, there is an easy workaround.
Just create a new playlist called “Library” and add music there instead. There is a 10,000 song limit per playlist, so once it’s full create “Library 2”, “Library 3” and so on. Add all of these libraries into a single playlist folder (File > New Playlist Folder), and highlight the folder to see all the music within in.
It’s not ideal, but it’s a viable workaround for what is ultimately a ridiculous restriction.
5. Account Hacked
Although this isn’t really a technical issue, it’s a surprisingly common problem. Reddit users often complain about their accounts being hacked; as recently as April 2016 hundreds of Spotify account details – including emails, usernames, passwords, and account types – were leaked on Pastebin.
Oddly, Spotify denied that its data had been breached, suggesting these account credentials were stolen from third-party web apps .
How Can You Tell If You’ve Been Hacked?
There are a few telltale signs. Are you seeing songs listed in your play history that you don’t recognize? Are you suddenly getting a lot of Swedish hip-hop or Japanese pop music in your Discover Weekly playlist, despite never listening to that genre? Were you kicked out of the app in the middle of playing a track?
If you answered Yes to any of these questions there is a high chance your account has been compromised.
What Should You Do?
If you’re lucky, your email and password will not have been changed. Log in to your account on the Spotify website, then head to Account Overview > Sign Out Everywhere. If that’s successful, change your password immediately. If your account is linked to Facebook, change your Facebook password as well.
6. Problems on Android
If you have a problem on your Android device that cannot be replicated elsewhere, it can almost always be fixed by following a few simple steps.
Before working through this troubleshooting guide, first try logging out of the app and re-logging back in – it’ll often solve smaller issues. If you’re experiencing a blank screen when you start the app, playback problems, track skipping, offline syncing issues, or unavailable songs, keep reading.
Clear Cache and Perform a Clean Install
The cache is where Spotify saves data so it can operate faster and more efficiently in the future. Sometimes, the data in the cache will become corrupted and you’ll experience usage problems.
Thankfully, Android makes it simple to delete the cache , thus allowing the app to rebuild a new, uncorrupted set of data.
Just head to Settings > Apps > Spotify > Storage and tap on Clear Cache. You should also tap on Clear Data.
Now, use an Android file manager to make sure the following four files no longer exist:
If they are still visible, delete them manually.
Finally, uninstall the app and reinstall it via the Google Play Store.
Delete Cleaning Apps, Process Managers, and Battery Managers
Several cleaning apps contain a process-killing feature which can effect Spotify. Similarly, process managers and battery managers can interfere with the various running processes Spotify uses. They can be particularly aggressive when either the screen is off or an app is running in the background for a long time.
If you really need/want to keep these apps installed, trying adding Spotify (/ext_sd/Android/data/com.spotify.music) to the apps’ whitelists.
7. Problems on iPhones and iPads
Apple’s iDevices do not offer users a clear cache button . Instead, it’s down to the individual apps to offer a way to clear their caches.
Unfortunately, Spotify has not yet included this function, despite thousands of user requests on its forums. If you’re experiencing problems with the Spotify app, you’ll need to delete it and reinstall it. This will clear the cache and hopefully solve your issue.
8. Accidentally Deleted Playlist
I’ll finish this list with a problem that’s extremely common and entirely of a user’s own making – accidentally deleted playlists.
Playlists are works of art – you can spend days, weeks, months, or even years creating the perfect playlist for an activity or event. For example, the famous Hipster International playlist by Sean Parker (founder of Napster) was constantly updated over a period of three and a half years, though it now seems to be dead.
If you delete your favorite list, don’t despair; you can easily recover it. Log into your account on the Spotify website, then go to Recover Playlists > Restore.
What Problems Have You Encountered?
I’ve covered lots of the most common issues above, but there will always be user-specific examples that are beyond the scope of this article.
If you’re looking for more help with Spotify, try some of these handy keyboard shortcuts for navigating Spotify quickly. But if you’re considering ditching Spotify, check out our article on Spotify vs. YouTube Music for another option.