Spotify is a shoddy, busted piece of shit in desperate need of an overhaul.
I love music, and I love the idea that I have virtually any song or album at my fingertips for a small monthly fee.
What I DON’T love is that Spotify is a broken ass piece of shit.
I’m not sure what’s going on with Spotify’s shuffle algorithms, but they have quite possibly the most terrible shuffle I’ve ever seen in my life. In the past I’ve bitched about WinAmp’s shuffle, but holy shit bro Spotify basically said “Oh yeah? Hold my beer.”
I have 3,000+ songs in my Liked playlist. For some reason unbeknownst to me, Spotify favors the same 100 or so songs when building the play queue. I’ve searched high and low for a solution to this problem, or at least an explanation, and I’ve come up empty-handed. Reddit and Spotify’s own message boards are chock full of people complaining about the same thing, going as far back as the program has existed. Nothing. Nobody can figure out why, and Spotify refuses to even acknowledge the existence of this issue. At best you’ll get a “Try uninstalling and reinstalling the app” from their useless support team (who are evidently recruited from the same talent pool as the people who work Microsoft Answers).
There are a few theories that get kicked around as to why Spotify’s shuffle algorithms favor certain songs. The first theory is that Spotify operates under a payola-style model, where artists are paying for preferential treatment in the algorithm. While at first this seems like the obvious explanation, I can confirm it’s bullshit (or at least, it’s not being done in an obvious way). Among some of the artists that my shuffle seems to favor are nerdcore legends like MC Lars, Mega Ran, and Former Fat Boys, along with popular but still lesser known artists like Jonathan Young and Anthony Vincent. I highly doubt any nerdcore rappers are paying Spotify exuberant fees to heavily promote their songs. Hell, most of you probably had to Google “nerdcore rap” to figure out what the hell I was talking about. I also doubt Jonathan Young is paying to get his shit promoted. Yet these artists are constantly in my rotation if I shuffle my liked songs. It got to a point where I had to start unliking songs because I was tired of fucking hearing them twice a day.
So it’s not the artist paying for play priority.
The other most common explanation I’ve read is that the algorithm goes by how often the user plays a song. The more a user plays a song, the higher the chance it gets “randomly” picked during a shuffle. This might actually be true to some extent, since I’ve noticed that if I manually queue a song multiple times over the course of a few weeks the shuffle will begin to favor it on its own.
The problem I have with this theory though yet again ties back to the nerdcore songs that keep coming up. I’ve never obsessively queued up any nerdcore song, yet Spotify will scrape the very bottom of my playlist to find any and all of the nerdcore songs I have liked, which probably totals less than 50 out of 3,000. After hearing the same MC Lars track for the tenth time in a week I’m forced to unlike the song in order to preserve my damn sanity, and Spotify immediately hones in on yet another MC Lars track, which I’ll surely hear another hundred fucking times. Meanwhile I have nine different songs by Rick James liked and I’m lucky if I hear even one of them over the span of a month.
Hey Spotify, I stopped listening to the radio and signed up for your service so I didn’t have to deal with repetitive playlists. If I wanted to hear the same songs over and over again I’d turn on WMGK or WMMR. It’s a shame too, because I genuinely like these songs. But it’s like eating pizza every day, eventually you get tired of it and that good thing starts to become boring and even loathsome. I’m slowly beginning to loathe nerdcore, and I really don’t want to. It’s a great genre with some very creative, talented, and massively underrated artists, and I want to continue giving them my support by adding to their monthly numbers. Unfortunately, until the Spotify dev team gets their shit together I’m going to have to keep unliking songs to keep myself from going insane from the repetitiveness.
It’s not just Spotify either. I’ve tried Pandora, iHeartRadio, and Amazon Prime Music, and the same problems seem to persist. Shuffle always seems to be incredibly biased towards specific songs or artists, and none of the services want to address or even acknowledge the issue on their platform.
Why is it that nobody seems to know how to make a fucking shuffle function that works properly? How hard is it to program a shuffle feature to detect whether or not a song has been played in the last few days, then lower the chance that it gets played again based on that? I don’t know dick about programming, but I know there’s no way in hell that this is outside the realm of possibility. I’ve had MP3 players (holy shit remember those?) that had this basic function. You’re telling me that Spotify’s dev team can’t figure this one out?
Spotify’s greatest strength is that its competition sucks even worse. The moment a better service comes along with a working shuffle function I’m jumping ship faster than Amy Schumer after discovering she’s on a Weight Watchers cruise.