Making the Most of Spotify

By Tracey Dowdy

When we moved back to Virginia after five years in Canada, one of the things that eased the pain of saying goodbye to poutine and ketchup chips was access to sites like Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix, and Spotify. Of course Canada has Amazon, Netflix and Spotify, but the content is different and like everything else ‘Merican, well, your content libraries are bigger.

Spotify in particular has been a welcome addition – who wouldn’t love rolling through Spotify’s catalog of over 30 million songs, available through free or paid subscriptions? One of my favorite features is “Discover Weekly” – a customized list based on your listening preferences that gets updated every Monday. I’m guaranteed to pick up at least 2 or 3 songs a week to add to my playlists.

Spotify’s launched back in 2008, but even if you’ve been using it for a while these tips and tricks can help you make the most of the service.

1. If you don’t want the world to know your secret life as a diehard Belieber, make your listening activity and playlists private.

  • In desktop preferences, un-check “Publish my activity on Spotify”
  • Make individual playlists private by right-clicking the title and selecting “Make Secret”
  • Start a temporary private session under the main Spotify window on the desktop

2. Read lyrics in real time as a song plays so you can avoid “momming up” the lyrics and you’ll discover Taylor Swift isn’t actually singing about her list of “Starbucks lovers” in Blank Space.

3. If you use the paid version, you can import songs from iTunes and other places on your computer directly into Spotify. This is particularly useful for artists like Taylor Swift whose music isn’t available through the service. Tracks will be displayed under the Local Files tab under “Your Music” in the Spotify app.

4. Make your playlists collaborative by clicking the “…” icon next to “Following.” You’ll get a notification any time the list is edited by another Belieber, I mean another user. Ahem.

5. Get specific with Advanced Search. Go beyond searching by artist, genre, album or title and use common search parameters AND, NOT, OR. E.g. “Simon AND Garfunkel”, “Simon OR Garfunkel” or “Simon NOT Garfunkel.”

6. Easily recover a playlist you deleted. Not that that’s ever happened to anyone I know. Simply login to your account on Spotify’s website and select “Recover Playlists.”

7. Use “touch preview” to sample an album or playlists. Tap and hold the cursor over the album or playlist to explore, quite literally, without having lifted a finger.

8. Use your phone as a remote control to play music from another computer or your speakers. The technology also works with newer TV’s and some speakers like those from Sonos.

9. Organize your playlists into folders. On the desktop, go to “File” and then “New Playlist Folder” and sort and label away.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

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