Spotify is one of the biggest digital music services available. With more than 20 million tracks in its catalog, it's quite easy to hoard songs in playlists without putting much thought into how you categorize and order them. But if you know about a few features in Spotifyand how to do some workarounds for features that don't existyou can clean up and reorganize your Spotify playlists so that you can always find exactly the songs and artists you want to hear.
This article (and video below) covers the following topics:
- how to create and name Spotify playlists (a short explainer, as I assume most users know how to do these actions already)
- how to create and name Spotify folders
- how to rearrange folders, playlists, and tracks
- how to remove duplicate tracks from a playlist
- how to add a song you just heard on radio to a playlist
- how to recover a deleted Spotify playlist
- tips for categorizing playlists and folders.
How to Create and Name Spotify Playlists
To create a new playlist from the Spotify desktop application, you have two options.
1. Click + New Playlist, which appears in the left side bar, under the Collections category.
2. Or, you can go to File > New Playlist. You'll see it appear at the top of your playlists, or the top of whatever playlist folder you were most recently using.
To change the name of an existing playlist, simply click on it once, wait, and click on it again. The text box will become active, and you can rename it however you like. You can't automatically sort your playlists alphabetically or by the number of tracks contained thereinwhatever ordering you want must be done manually (boo!).
How to Create and Name Spotify Folders
A surprisingly number of people who are Spotify users never even notice that they have the ability to create folders for housing their playlists, and thus better organizing them.
Go to File > New Playlist Folder (or Ctrl + Shift + N), and a new playlist folder will appear at the top of your playlist section. You can name it whatever you like, although I have some suggestions later in this article.
How to Rearrange Folders, Playlists, and Tracks
Rearranging folders and playlists in your left side bar is as simple as dragging and dropping them. To add a playlist to a folder, just drag and drop it on top (this is pretty rudimentary, I know).
When you drag a playlist to the first position within a folder, the visual cue changesit looks like Spotify is asking whether you want to add that playlist to the folder, even if it's already in it. It still works, though.
Drag-and-drop reordering works for tracks within a playlist as well.
How to Remove Duplicate Tracks from a Playlist
Spotify does not have a de-duping utility for playlists, which is a low-down dirty shame. I am constantly picking out songs that I mistakenly added to a playlist more than once. (I really wish Spotify would alert me when I try to add a song that already exists in a playlist.)
The best way to find and remove duplicate tracks is to sort a playlist by track time or track name, then visually scan for duplicates and remove them one at a time by right-clicking on the track and selecting Remove from playlist.
Good to know: When you sort a playlist by one of the column headers (track, artist, time), you won't lose the order of your tracks. One click sorts alphabetically, or shortest to longest song duration. The second click sorts it in reverse order. And the third click returns the list to your custom order.
How to Add a Song You Just Heard on Radio to a Playlist
The Radio feature in Spotify is a great tool for discovering new music. When you hear a song you like and want to add it to a playlist, there are a few ways to do it.
1. If the song is currently playing on your radio station, click the track name so that Spotify can take you to the album view. Then just drag the selected track to your playlist. The simplest way to return to the radio is to hit the back arrow at the very top left of the screen.
2. If a song you heard on a radio channel recently ended, you can still find it in your history. Go to Play Queue (in the left side rail toward the top), and then click on History. You'll see literally thousands of songs you've heard via Spotify in this list. One thing to note is that your history is specific to the device at hand. In other words, your history from the mobile app doesn't sync across to the desktop app, and vice versa.
How to Recover a Deleted Spotify Playlist
Let's say you had some old playlists that you nixed, like last year's holiday music, and now you wish you hadn't cleared it out. You can recover deleted playlists from your Spotify Web account.
Go to Spotify.com and sign in. At the top right, click your username and profile image, and select Account. You'll see a list of options along the top, and the last one is Recover Playlist. Here, you'll find those deleted playlists. When you select "Restore" for any playlist, it will automatically and immediately reappear in your Spotify app, as long as you're connected to the Internet.
Tips for Categorizing Playlists and Folders
To get some tips for how to best categorize playlists and folders, I looked at the Spotify accounts of a few friends and colleagues who are heavy users of the service. It's really amazing how differently people organize their music based on how and when they listen to it.
You don't have to stick to just one of these categorization systems, of course. Feel free to mix and match them as it makes sense to you.
By Genre. My personal method primarily uses the genre classification system. I have folders for Classical, Hip Hop, one called "Pop Rock Indie" (and several others that aren't genre-specific at all). Within the genre folders, I have playlists that are more specific, like 80s in the Pop Rock Indie folder, and a Piano playlist in the Classical folder.
Some genre folders you might want to use are (this is by no means a comprehensive listjust some ideas to get you started):
- Children's Music
- Soundtrack (Cinematic)
By Activity or Event. Several Spotify users who showed me their accounts categorize music by activities. For example, one colleague has a ten-hour long playlist of road-trip music. Another colleague keeps playlists of running music that she syncs to her Spotify mobile app. She changes her list every month, so she has a folder for Running and playlists for November, October, and so forth.
A few people had playlists for working or focusing, and several of us have playlists for specific parties. Remember, if you delete a playlist, such as one you made for a past party, you can always restore it from the Web app to reuse it or build on it for a future party.
By Artist. Two of the Spotify users I talked to keep artist-specific playlists. One actually creates playlists for artists and then adds their entire discography into the playlist. So he has every song The Velvet Underground ever recorded (or at least those available on Spotify) in one playlist.
One Spotify user made folders for "Female" solo artists, with playlists for each artist within it. You could also keep artist-specific playlists within genre folders.
By User. If you share a Spotify login and Premium account with another member of your household, you might want to create folders for each person, as one person I spoke to did.
By Familiarity. Finally, a lot of Spotify users mentioned that they use the service to discover new music, and that they had a folder or playlists for new music. You can keep your tried-and-true favorite playlists separate from more experimental songs, or new music about which you haven't yet decided.
For discovery, I also learned that many people like collaborative playlists so other friends can suggest new songs and artists, but that they want to keep their more familiar favorites closed from others.
Dare to Delete
Deleting junk rather than hoarding digital files is one of the most important ways to keep your digital life better organized. I really loved that, in writing this article, I learned about the ability to restore deleted playlists, because it lets you keep your account tidy and well organized without ever worrying that the work you put into making a playlist is gone forever. You can always get it back. And that should free you, mentally, from keeping unnecessary playlists on hand so your Spotify account can be in a constant state of tidiness.