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Spotify’s tools for unearthing new music are fantastic. The Discover Weekly and Release Radar playlists combine to help you find new artists, new genres, and new albums — many of which you’d never have heard of without Spotify’s assistance.
However, some users have been complaining that their playlists never offer any suggestions they are actually interested in. Which is making them feel like Spotify doesn’t really know them, let alone care.
This must be frustrating. If you enjoy heavy metal, there are only so many times you can be told to listen to Justin Bieber’s new album before you explode with rage. And even if the playlists usually offer tracks you enjoy, there’s always room for improvement.
In this article we give you five tips for “gaming the system”. Follow these suggestions, and you should quickly notice an improvement in your Discover Weekly and Release Radar recommendations.
Before we launch into the suggestions, let’s make something clear: Spotify does not reveal how its algorithms work. Therefore, our personal experiences and anecdotal evidence from other users form the basis of these tips. Which means you might get different results.
It’s also important to note that the more of our tips you follow, the better your recommendations will be. Not all of these recommendations will necessarily integrate well with how you personally use Spotify. Use the ones that work for you.
1. Save Tracks From Discover Weekly
Spotify gives a lot of weight to which tracks you save from Discover Weekly. It seems to give slightly more weight to songs you add to Your Music, but adding them to another playlist without saving them can also influence future suggestions.
Therefore, it’s prudent to be selective and only save tracks you really enjoy. Despite its popularity, you should avoid using the IFTTT recipe that automatically adds every Discover Weekly track to an archived playlist. Spotify’s algorithms won’t be able to assimilate the data effectively.
2. Add Songs to Playlists
Spotify gives even more credence to songs that appear in both Your Music and a personal playlist.
For example, if you’ve saved lots of Rolling Stones songs in Your Music and also have a “Sixties Rock” playlist which heavily draws on the veteran rockers’ music, you can expect to see lots of similar bands pop up in your Discover Weekly playlist.
But there’s a caveat. Spotify does not appear to use your locally-saved songs in in its calculations (or, if it does, they afforded a minimal weighting). As such, if you want to get sixties rock recommendations but you always use locally-saved songs, you should start listening to the Spotify library version of the track instead.
3. Follow Your Favorite Artists and Bands
This sounds obvious, but as Spotify continues to strip away many of its social features, following bands and artists no longer seems to have any benefits. In the past, there was a “live feed” where you could see updates from your favorite groups and, if the artist was active on Spotify, even see what they were listening to.
But the bands you follow still greatly influences your Discover Weekly playlist. If you’ve neglected your Following list, spend some time deleting artists you’re no longer interested in and adding bands you want to hear more of.
To see who you’re following from the desktop app, click on your username in the top right-hand corner and open the Following tab.
Note: You can also follow other Spotify users, but it’s unclear whether this influences your algorithms. If you want to play safe, unfollow any of your friends who have a terrible taste in music!
4. Listen to Artist Radio Feeds
Spotify’s Radio feature seems to have less weighting than following the artists, but it unquestionably still plays a part.
In case you don’t know, a Radio station is essentially a non-stop Spotify-generated playlist. It can either be artist- or genre-specific. Activating an artist playlist plays plenty of their music, but also throws in lots of tunes from related singers and bands.
As such, activating a radio playlist for your favorite artists will make Spotify play lots of content you’ll probably enjoy. In turn, it will become data used in the Discover Weekly calculations.
To activate a radio playlist for a specific band, navigate to their profile page, click the three horizontal dots in the head, and select Go To Artist Radio.
5. Follow Genre-Specific Playlists
One of Spotify’s best features is its vast library of specially curated playlists. There are thousands to choose from, covering everything from regional Colombian music to language learning courses.
Given the choice, it’s tempting to take a scattergun approach and follow hundreds. Sadly, if you want to help Spotify get to know you better, it’s a bad idea. (If you have taken a scattergun approach, be honest, how many of the lists have you actually listened to from start to finish?)
Instead, be selective. Identify your favorite four or five genres and follow a few playlists in those areas. Of course, you can still follow other content, but make sure that the genres of music you enjoy listening to on a day-to-day basis form the majority of the lists you follow.
And remember, you don’t need to follow a playlist in order to listen to it. If an occasion arises where you need something different, just play more niche content on a case-by-case basis as required.
Has Someone Hacked Your Account?
If after working your way through the five steps above you don’t see any improvement, there is a chance an unauthorized person has ongoing access to your account. And their listening habits could be adversely affecting your recommendations.
A cursory search on the official Spotify forums or the Spotify subreddit reveals plenty of people who weren’t aware that their accounts had been compromised.
A simple way to check is to look at your Spotify listening history (assuming you have the feature turned on). To check your Spotify history, click the Queue icon on the desktop app, then navigate to the History tab.
If you see any suspicious activity, change your password immediately and contact Spotify directly with your concerns.
How Are You Using Spotify?
We have shown you five ways to make Spotify give you better recommendations. Hopefully the music Spotify starts recommending you listen to improves as a direct result. However, there’s always a chance we may have missed something. So now it’s over to you.
Do you know of any other tricks we’ve missed? How do you make sure your Discover Weekly and Release Radar playlists provide useful recommendations? Have you discovered your new favorite artist through Spotify’s algorithms? Please let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: Antonio Guillem via Shutterstock.com