If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember mixtapes (or even mix CDs) as the time-honored way of sharing your music. As made famous on the big screen in High Fidelity, mixtapes were the perfect way to woo your crush, or just impress your friends with how many obscure bands you’d heard of.
As we’ve moved from physical formats to streaming services, the art of the mixtape has been lost, but there are other ways to share your musical recommendations. And it’s easier and quicker than ever before.
Once you’ve pulled together the perfect playlist on Spotify, open it up, tap the three dots (top right on Android, on the left on iOS) and pick Share to see a list of options. These will include any messaging apps installed on your phone and a Copy Link option that directly copies the playlist address to the clipboard, so you can paste it anywhere you like.
Links to playlists will open up in the Spotify apps for mobile and desktop, or on the web, but the recipient will need a Spotify account to listen. Bear in mind that you can share these links as many times and with as many people as you want, but the link is public and anybody who has it can access your playlist.
If you want to work on a playlist with someone else rather than just sending it, tap the three dots again and choose Make Collaborative before sharing. When someone opens the link, they’ll be able to listen to the playlist, but also add, remove, and change the order of songs. Needless to say you don’t want just anyone messing with your awesome track list, so make sure you grant the collaborative powers of Spotify to someone you trust.
Every playlist on Spotify also has its own code, which appears when you tap on the three dots in the top-right corner. You can use this to share playlists without a link—all the recipient has to do is scan it using the camera icon next to the search box on the Spotify mobile app. You can screenshot the code, print it, or even put it in something physical like a sticker or a necklace.
If you’re using Apple Music on Android, open the playlist in the app, tap the three dots on the right and choose Share Playlist. You can copy the link to it—ready to paste wherever you want—or pick one of the apps listed to share there directly. Anyone with the link can view the list of songs, but as with Spotify, they’ll need to sign in with an Apple Music account to listen.
If you’re on an iPhone, open a playlist (it’ll automatically open in the Music app), tap the three dots (top right), then choose Share to send it. By tapping the Copy option, you’ll be able to paste the playlist link anywhere you like, while other options will allow you to send the link directly through apps like Twitter and Gmail, if you’ve got them installed.
At the time of writing, Apple Music doesn’t have a collaborative playlist feature, so there’s no integrated way for you and your friends to work on a soundtrack together. On the plus side, this also means no one else can interfere with your carefully curated list of songs.
YouTube Music works in tandem with YouTube, which means that you have to unlist playlists or make them public to share them. The first option only allows access through the right link, making it more private, while the alternative makes your playlist available both through your channel and the YouTube search results.
To change this and other settings (like making the list collaborative), open your playlist in the YouTube Music app and tap the pen icon. Once a playlist is unlisted or public, you can go ahead and share it—tap the three dots under the playlist title and pick Share to choose an app or copy a direct link. Anyone with the URL can then view and play the songs—even if they don’t have a YouTube Music account—and if you’ve switched collaboration on, they’ll also be able to edit it.
Part of the reason this is slightly more convoluted than sharing on Spotify or Apple Music is that your YouTube Music playlists live on YouTube, too. This means that if any of the people you’re sharing with don’t have an account of their own, they’ll end up viewing the playlist on YouTube instead.
Sharing in the Deezer app is just as straightforward as doing it on Spotify or Apple Music: open the playlist, then tap the share button on the left. If the curved arrow isn’t there, you’ll need to make the playlist public by tapping the pen icon on the right, followed by Edit information. As with the other platforms mentioned above, you can share the playlist link with your contacts through a particular app, or copy the URL to the clipboard to paste it wherever you like.
Recipients will be able to open up the playlist with or without a Deezer account, and if the app isn’t installed on their devices, it will open up on the web. However, without an account, whoever you send the list to will only be able to listen to 30-second previews of each song.
You can also make your playlists collaborative, but oddly enough you can only toggle this setting from Deezer on the web. Open up a playlist, click Edit, check the Collaborative box, and Save.
To share a playlist from Tidal you’ll need to open it up and tap the three dots in the top right-hand corner. Choose Share, and you can copy the link to the clipboard or choose a specific app to share your songs with other people.
With Tidal you get the same deal as with Deezer: anyone who opens your playlist link without an account will only be able to listen to the first 30 seconds of each track on the web. To hear the songs in full, the recipients need to be logged into a Tidal account.
Like Apple Music, this platform doesn’t have collaborative playlists at the time of writing, though there’s always the chance that this might change in the future.
Crossing the streams
Unfortunately, it’s not particularly easy to share playlists from one music streaming platform to another. Each service stores and shares playlists in a different way, so the only way to move playlists between them is to sign up for all of those involved.
But even if you and your friends have accounts on multiple services, playlist-transferring tools can be more of a hassle than just sending your friends a list of songs on a messaging app and asking them to queue them up on their platform of choice. And we say that knowing full well how totally impractical this is for longer playlists.
If you want a playlist you can share anywhere, with anyone, the answer is simple: YouTube. Anyone can access the platform, with or without an account, and putting together playlists there is quick and easy.