The best Spotify add-ons and tricks | Popular Science
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The best Spotify add-ons and tricks

Become a streaming music pro in no time

Spotify

Dig deeper into all the features Spotify has to offer.

Spotify

More than a decade ago, Spotify burst onto the scene with a plan to change the way we listen to music—and it's largely succeeded in its aims. Streaming and renting music is now considered normal, and after Spotify came a lengthy list of imitators, including Apple Music and Google Play Music.

If you have a premium Spotify account, you'll want to get the most value out of your $10 per month. These tips can help. From saving on data usage to keeping your playlists for posterity, there's much more to Spotify than you might have realized.

Fill up your playlists

Playlists

Spotify can help you discover new music.

David Nield/Popular Science

Algorithms rule our lives now, from Netflix recommendations to Facebook news stories. Spotify is no different. When you're trying to fill out a playlist but struggling for inspiration, the app can use your recent listening history to plug the gaps.

Whenever you start creating a new playlist in the desktop client, scroll down beyond the bottom of the list to see more suggestions. Tracks are listed based on what's already in the playlist—click the play icon to hear a preview or the Add button to include them.

Maximize the quality of your music

Quality

You'll have to trade off between sound quality and data usage.

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Did you know you can control the quality of the music you stream and download on Spotify, in both the mobile and desktop clients? These options let you strike whatever balance you like between the fidelity of your tunes and the amount of data Spotify uses.

In the desktop client, open up the settings pane via the drop-down menu in the top-right corner, then look for Music Quality. On mobile, open settings from the Your Library page, and find the Music Quality heading. On iOS, there's an extra Streaming Quality menu.

Archive the Discover Weekly playlist

Discover Weekly

Save your mix.

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Spotify's Discovery Weekly playlist, which appears in your account automatically every week, provides an excellent way to find new music you might like. The problem is, the mix of songs disappears every Monday, replaced by a fresh selection of tunes.

To stop this from happening, archive the playlist from the desktop—and you can do the same for any playlist you subscribe to. Select the entire playlist (Ctrl+A or Cmd+A), then right-click, choose Add to Playlist, and create a new playlist of your own for safe-keeping.

Check what you're sharing with others

Sharing

Protect your privacy.

David Nield/Popular Science

Sharing your tastes with friends and family is all well and good, but sometimes, you don't want the whole world monitoring what you're listening to. There's a Private Session option for this very purpose in the settings for Spotify's desktop and mobile apps.

For more granular controls, open up the settings screen on your phone or computer. You can enable or disable sharing on Facebook and on Spotify itself (where friends you've connected to on Spotify can see your listening habits).

Preview music on your iPhone

Spotify iOS

Android users can skip this one.

Spotify

Here's a neat little trick that's unfortunately only available to iPhone users, at least for the time being. If you want to quickly preview other music without losing your place in your current queue, just touch and hold on the track, playlist, or album in question to hear a snippet.

Once you lift your finger again, the preview stops, and the tune you were previously listening to fades back in. This is especially useful when you're trying to find songs to add to a playlist but don't want to keep interrupting whatever's already playing.

Import playlists from elsewhere

Playlists

Bring your music with you.

Soundiiz

If you've moved to Spotify from somewhere else, you don't have to leave all your playlists behind. Harness a program called Soundiiz, which will do all the heavy lifting for you, entirely behind the scenes. It supports a host of different music services, including Google Play Music, Spotify, Deezer, Tidal, and more.

Simply log into the relevant accounts through Soundiiz to get your playlists out of one service and into Spotify. There the odd song may become unavailable, but most of the time, everything will transfer over fine. A similar program called Stamp can also import playlists, and it works well on mobile.

Improve your searching and sorting

Search

Filter your results.

David Nield/Popular Science

Spotify already has admirably intuitive searching and sorting features, but if you dig deeper, you’ll find lots to explore. For example, you can restrict search results by time period. Add "year:1980-1989" to any search to restrict the results to those years. You can change these years as needed to match your favorite era.

You can also use "genre:" followed by a genre to narrow down your searches. Don't forget the "NOT" keyword, which can exclude certain results.

Meanwhile, within individual playlists, click the column headers to sort your music or press Ctrl+F (Cmd+F on macOS) to look for certain tracks.

Launch Spotify in your browser

Web player

Give the web player a spin.

David Nield/Popular Science

In addition to its desktop client, Spotify has a very capable web player that you can access through your browser. This will come in handy during those times when you're on someone else's computer. You may also find it helpful if you're using a Chromebook, or you just don't want to install another program.

The web player doesn't have quite as many features as the full desktop clients do, but it's still very capable. You can edit your account details, as well as control playback from your browser on other devices (like Spotify-capable speakers or even mobile phones).

Track your listening with Last.fm

Last.fm

Let the apps work together.

David Nield/Popular Science

One of the services you might have seen mentioned in Spotify is Last.fm. At its heart, Last.fm is a music tracking and discovery service—if you create an account and connect it to Spotify, you'll get a record of all the tracks you listen to across all the devices you use.

Spotify already does some of this, but Last.fm works across multiple platforms and can track your habits across all apps and services, not just Spotify. What's more, it has one of the best recommendation engines in the business, and is completely free to use.

Tune into an Endless Artist playlist

Endless Artist playlist

Tailored to you.

Spotify

In a recent blog post, Spotify announced a new premium feature called Endless Artist Radio. Each one of these radio "stations" is a personalized playlist that matches both the style of the artist and the tastes of that specific listener. And it's endless, which means it will run as long as you want it.

To test out this option, simply search for an artist, then select the result labeled with their name followed by "Radio." If you enjoy the playlist, you can also download it so you'll be able to listen offline.

Play Spotify within Google Maps

Google Maps with Spotify

Control your music and navigate at the same time.

Spotify

In the car, most of us treat our phones as both navigation units and music players. Instead of switching back and forth between Google Maps and Spotify, a new update lets you control both from a single interface.

To enable this, first download both apps to your phone. Then launch Google Maps, go to the settings (open the main menu and then tap the cog icon), and hit Navigation. From here, select either Show media playback controls (on Android) or Music playback controls (on iOS). Then tap Spotify to connect your musical account.

Once you accept the terms, you'll have access to your music's playback controls within the Google Maps navigation pane—just tap the Spotify icon. You can also open the streaming app from here, then return to the navigation view with a tap.

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