I agree, Spotify is confusing. It's also incredible, giving you access to millions of songs for free (with the occasional ad) or ad-free for $9.99 a month. Spotify was the reason I finally stopped buying CDs or purchasing albums in any form so many years ago. For less than the cost of a CD per month, I can listen to nearly any song I want whenever I want. My vast CD collection now sits in my attic, gathering dust.
Navigating a catalog of more than 30 million songs is no small task, however, and the Spotify app throws a lot at you. It can be a bit overwhelming at first. After you master the basics, you can use the following, less obvious features to get even more out of Spotify.
Long-press to preview of a song
Sorry, Android users, but this first tip is iOS-only. Spotify calls it Touch Preview and added it to its iOS app two years ago but has yet to follow through on its promise to roll it out to other platforms. It's great when you are browsing new music and want to hear a snippet of a song without abandoning the current song that's playing. Just long-press on a track you see and the current song playing will cut out and you can listen to a preview of the other track. Lift your finger and the original song will resume. You can also use Touch Preview on albums and playlists; when long-pressing, you'll see tiny thumbnails of the tracks in the album or playlist, when you can swipe sideways to preview.
Scrub tracks on the iOS lock screen and Control Center
This one is iOS-only, too. With a recent update, Spotify finally added scrubbing to the iOS lock screen and Control Center. Now, if you want to jump to a different spot in the song that's playing, you don't need to open the app but can use the slider at the top of the lock screen or Control Center to scrub through a song.
View album or artist info
If you like what you are hearing and want to hear more from that artist, there's a quick way to jump to more songs from that artist without needing to search. From the Now Playing panel, tap the triple-dot button along the right edge below the album artwork, scroll down and tap View Album or View Artist. The former is great if you stumble across a great song in a playlist and want to check out the album on which that song appears. The latter is great when you discover new songs from artists you don't know and want find out more about these new or new-to-you artists and see the other music they have released.
Save your Discover Weekly playlists
The Discover Weekly playlist might be my favorite thing about Spotify. Each Monday, Spotify delivers 30 songs it thinks I might like, but every Monday my previous Discover Weekly playlist goes poof! Thankfully, there's an IFTTT applet that will automatically save your Discover Weekly playlists each week. Set up the applet and it'll create a Discover Weekly Archive playlist and save your 30 Discover Weekly songs to it each week.
Save your Shazams to a playlist
Shazam was the first app that blew my mind on my first iPhone. I'm still amazed by it. Also amazing? If you connect the Shazam app to Spotify, each of your Shazams will be saved to a new playlist in Spotify called My Shazam Tracks. You can also do the same for SoundHound.
SoundHound workaround for missing lyrics
Spotify used to show lyrics by way of MusixMatch, but that partnership has ended and has not been replaced with another lyrics service. There is, however, an easy workaround for the missing lyrics feature in Spotify. Install the SoundHound app and link it to your Spotify account. When you encounter a song for which you want to see the lyrics, just hop over to the SoundHound app, tap the listen button and SoundHound will recognize the song and start displaying the lyrics. You can even tap the lyrics preview to open a larger lyrics panel that will highlight each line as it's sung for a karaoke-like experience.
Start a Private Session for guilty pleasures
On occasion, I need to hear some Whitney Houston. I'm not ashamed to say this, because Whitney's voice might be proof of the existence of a higher power, and I say this as an atheist. Whitney is not a guilty pleasure, but because Spotify is always monitoring my listening habits for my Discover Weekly playlist, I worry that my love of Whitney might lead Spotify to believe I might want to hear from Mariah Carey, Celine Dion and the like. I do not wish to hear from these two artists or the like, let alone hear from them on anything approaching a weekly basis. So, when I need to get my Whitney fix, I flip on Spotify's private mode to keep Whitney wannabes out of my Discover Weekly playlist. To do so, go to Your Library, tap the gear icon for Settings, tap Social and then toggle on Private Session. It'll turn off automatically and conveniently after six hours of inactivity if you forget to go back and turn it off. Private Session is also good when you hand your phone and control of the upcoming musical selections to your kids.
Recover deleted playlists
If you want to get back a deleted playlist, you'll need to turn to Spotify's web client. Sign in to your account and then click Recover playlists from the left panel. Find the playlist you want to take back and click Restore.
Bring order to your playlists with playlist folders
Have you reached a point where you have an unmanageable number of playlists? Bring some order to them with playlist folders. From the desktop app, go to File > Create Playlist Folder and then give it a name. You can then drag playlists into it using the desktop app. You can neither create playlist folders nor drag playlists into them with Spotify's mobile app, so you'll need to do all of your playlist organizing on the desktop app. The playlist folders you create will show up, however, on the mobile app.
Add to Queue means 'play next'
This last one is more of a complaint than a tip, but you should know that when you tap Add to Queue on a song, it gets added at the top of your queue and not at the end. With Apple Music, in contrast, there is a Play Next option to play a song next and a Play Later option that adds it to the end of the queue. With Spotify, Add to Queue really means play next, which is super annoying if you've got some songs lined up next and want to keep adding songs to the end of the queue. To put a song at the end of your queue, Spotify forces you to add it next and then manually drag it from the top to the end of the queue. Spotify, why can't I have separate Add Next and Add to Queue buttons?