15 really useful Spotify tips and tricks
30th Apr 2010 | 12:00
Searching for songs and managing results made easy
Spotify tips 1-7
Spotify's been a massive success in Europe, with well over a million users in the UK.
With only the occasional advert interrupting the stream of music, it's like having the biggest music collection in the world.
It's so large that you might need a bit more help searching for songs and managing the results.
We've put together 15 hidden features, tips and add-ons that will help you make the most of Spotify.
1. Search modifiers
Search Spotify using modifiers to restrict and refine your results. For example, to search for Madonna's 1983 output you enter "madonna year:1982". You can also search for a range of years, like this: "rolling stones year:1965-1972". Other modifiers include "album", "artist" and "genre". These can be combined, for example: "album:love artist:cult" only finds tracks from The Cult's "Love". Finally, Boolean syntax can be used to exclude keywords, like this: "genre:trip-hop NOT morcheeba".
EXCLUSIVE TRACKS:Filter bands and tracks out of search results with the Boolean NOT operator - or use the minus sign "-".
2. Search by genre
Spotify's most useful search modifiers is "genre". Search for "genre:post-rock" and you'll get more Mogwai than you can get wet after midnight. It's also the trickiest to use. The program itself only lists 18 default genres (in the Radio section), but it supports around 800! If you don't use the right wording, the search will return no results. For a full and current list of Spotify genres, go to Spotify Gateway.
3. Multiple versions
Many albums exist in multiple versions with different edits - and Spotify may have multiple listings for the same collection of tracks. When this happens you'll see a little arrow in the "Track" column of your results. Click it to see all the instances of that track appearing on a different version of the album.
MULTITRACK:Different edits of your favourite albums have different track versions. Spotify finds them, but hides them
4. Link to part of a track
As originally cited on the Spotify blog, you can send friends a track URI with a time index embedded in it. Copy the Spotify URI and paste it into your email or message window, then edit the URI to add '#time' to the end. For example, if the track has a brilliant solo at 1:26, you append #1:26 to the end of the URI. You can also do this with HTTP links, but you'll have to replace the hash tag "#" with "%23".
5. Draggable URLs
You probably already know that you can right click on Spotify playlists, tracks and albums to copy the HTTP link or Spotify URI to the clipboard. You can also drag and drop any Spotify link to the text box of another program; an email client, instant messager, URL shortener or Twitter window. The HTTP link is embedded - not the Spotify URI.
6. Top Lists
The often forgotten "Top Lists" feature shows you the most popular tracks everywhere on the Spotify network, by default. You can change the display to show top artists, albums and tracks. If you look in the top left corner - you can also change where Spotify gets its data. Choose "Everywhere", the United Kingdom or another region where Spotify is live. Finally, choosing "For Me" shows your most frequently played tracks since the list was last updated. This should happen once a week - but the feature is notoriously buggy.
TOP OF YOUR POPS:Spotify say that its lists of top tracks, albums and artists are refreshed once a week, so don't worry if your currents faves aren't at number one
7. Quicker playlist creation
So, you've found Spotify's most popular tracks - now turn them into a playlist. CTRL and click on tracks to make multiple selections, then right-click to open the context sensitive menu and choose "Save to" and "New Playlist".
Spotify tips 8-15
8. Integrate Spotify with Firefox
FoxyTunes is one of our favourite plugins. It enables you to control Spotify (and over 30 other media players on Windows) from Firefox. You can also search for information on the current track direct from your browser. Combine it with Spotify Search for a complete search and playback solution in your browser.
FIREFOX ONLY:Though available in versions for Firefox and Internet Explorer, Spotify support is currently exclusive to Mozilla's browser
9. Keyboard navigation
Use keyboard shortcuts to navigate faster in Spotify; tab to move through columns, use up and down arrows to select tracks or move through tracks or playlists, hit enter to play. The Spacebar toggles pause on and off. When you're playing a tune, CTRL and right skips to the next in the list, while ALT and left or right goes back and forward through pages.
10. Volume control
Hold CTRL and hit the up or down arrow on your keyboard to change Spotify's volume. To mute playback, hit CTRL SHIFT and down - but note that adverts pause when you do that. You'll have to pay for a premium account to be rid of ads or try the rather convoluted solution blogging software developer Peter MacRobert used to auto-mute Spotify ads on his Mac.
11. Playlist privacy
By default, the new social features in Spotify make all your playlists public. Even the ones full of 80s power ballads. Prevent poor-taste embarrassment by clicking your own name in the "People" column - then click "Edit". You toggle whether a playlist is published on or off; green for yes, grey for no. While you're there, untick the box labeled "Automatically publish new playlists I create".
You can also right-click on a playlist in the column on the left and tick or untick "Publish" in the context sensitive menu.
SHARE VIEW: You can choose which playlist you'd like to display on your public profile, and turn off your top tunes, too
12. Clean up your tunes
Like iTunes, Spotify now uses the Gracenote database to maintain and clean-up information stored in local tracks. You can enable this by default when you first import local tunes into your library, or you can do it manually, if you spot a problem. Go to "Library > Local" in your user panel on the left, right click on the track that needs fixing and choose "Update info from Gracenote".
13. View other profiles
Facebook friends who enable Spotify's social features are automatically added to your people list. You can view any Spotify user who has enabled the new social features, whether you're their facebook friend or not though. If you know the username, type "spotify:user:<username>" in the search box. If you're subscribed to a playlist published by someone else, you can navigate to their profile just by clicking on their username. In either case, you can then add them to your people list, by clicking the "Add <username>" button.
FIND FRIENDS:If you know a Spotify user's name - and they've enabled its new social features - you can check out their profiles and add them to your people list
14. Prevent track spam
Anyone with a Spotify account can now send tracks to your inbox. It's as easy as dragging a track to a profile in the people column. What if someone you don't know starts spamming you with Hall and Oates tunes? Easy. You block them. Right-click their name in the "From" field and choose "Block from Inbox".
15. Share a playlist
You can drag and drop individual tracks to friends in the people list column or you can send tracks to them by right clicking and choosing "Send to > Spotify People > <username>". You can't do the same with playlists though. There are a few workarounds. Firstly, you can drag and drop a playlist URL to your instant messenger or email client and send it the old fashioned way. Secondly, you can right-click on a playlist and publish the link to Facebook or Twitter. Thirdly, and most clumsily, you can select all the tracks in a playlist and send them to a friend by right clicking and choosing ""Send to > Spotify People > username" - but that sends the tracks only, they won't be subscribed to the actual playlist.
SHARED PLAYLIST:For now, you can post playlist links to Facebook or Twitter but you can't send them to your friend's Spotify inbox
Liked this? Then check out Spotify could be Android's killer app
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