Spotify Shuffle Not Random? Try These 9 Fixes

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Spotify shuffle play

So, you’re on the way to school or work and you want to shuffle all of your songs in Spotify. After a few songs, you start to realize that all of your songs aren’t being shuffled randomly, the same songs are just playing over and over again.

This can be extremely annoying especially when you’re busy and you don’t have time to change tracks.

This means that you constantly have to manually change the songs all because Spotify couldn’t shuffle songs randomly.

How Does Spotify Shuffle Work?

Spotify’s algorithm was reportedly ‘random until a few years ago they change the algorithm from a completely random to a new algorithm that was intended to appeal more to humans which is why it’s no longer seen as random.

A few years ago when the shuffle was truly random, every song had an equal chance of coming up when you click the shuffle button. However, a lot of users complained that their shuffle wasn’t random enough and the same clump of songs by the same artist kept playing when on shuffle. Although what we think of random is songs we haven’t heard being played, that’s not random, randomly could be the same song playing 3 times even though it’s very unlikely.

To fix this, Spotify actually had to make their shuffle less random but in a way that appears more random to someone that listens casually. For example, if you had a ton of songs with varying artists, the chances that one artist will play 5 times in a row is impossible. Even though it was truly random, this is very possible. Although true randomness might be hearing 5 drake songs in a row, as humans, we’re not going to think something random if it’s happened 5 times in a row.

Why is Spotify Shuffle So Bad





The reason Spotify shuffle is so bad at actually making the playlist random is because of their shuffle algorithm. Their algorithm is based on choosing specific types of songs which is why it can come across as if the shuffle isn’t random.

Another reason why Spotify’s shuffle sucks is because of a bug within the app. Sometimes the app can glitch which causes the shuffle to be ordered and play specific types of songs that aren’t in random order. To get rid of the glitch within the app, there are a few things you have to do.

Another reason why you think Spotify’s shuffle is not random is that you think that they’re meant to play songs you haven’t heard in a long time. True randomness doesn’t come from choosing songs you haven’t heard in a while.

The feeling that you get when a playlist is being played comes from Gambler’s Fallacy – This is a trick where your brain thinks that because something hasn’t been played in a long time, it’s more likely to happen now. For example, if you flip a coin 3 times and it lands on heads, you might think that the 4th time it’s flipped it’ll land on tails, but there’s still a 50/50 chance so it could land either way.

This means that if you keep hearing a playlist repeat song or a specific genre after you’ve shuffled it, it might feel wrong to you. However, you need to understand that the playlist is truly random and Gamber’s Fallacy has to lead you to believe that it’s not because of your listening history in the past.

If you had never listened to music in the past, the playlist may appear more random to you. So just because a specific genre keeps playing, is not to say that if the same genre plays again it’s not random, it’s still random.

Why Does Spotify Shuffle Play the Same Songs

If Spotify is playing the same songs over and over again and the whole playlist isn’t playing, then chances are you’re expecting Spotify to have different songs even though it’s random. Random doesn’t mean that it plays songs that don’t get played often. It just means that it’ll play a song at random, and sometimes that means the same song gets played over and over again.

If you want the whole playlist to be played and you don’t want the randomness or the chance of Spotify playing the same songs, then you’ll need to increase the chances of it playing songs that you don’t hear often.

Of course, the best way to do this is to create a playlist full of all the songs that don’t get played as often. From here, you can and songs that Spotify tends to play often, from here, you’ll notice that more random songs are played and Spotify isn’t shuffling the same songs.

If you’re truly experiencing Spotify playing the same songs, as in it’s genuinely not random, then it looks like you have a problem on your hands. If this happens, then it looks like there’s a glitch or bug within the app that causes it not to shuffle the whole playlist. The same songs shouldn’t be playing over again and it should be random, especially if you have 100s of songs.

Furthermore, when you say your whole playlist doesn’t get shuffled and the same songs play, you may be talking about the same songs actually being played over and over again. For example, Shape of You by Ed Sheeran and two other songs might just be the only songs playing. If these aren’t the only songs in your playlist, then it looks like there’s a genuine problem with the Spotify app on your phone.

If you’re saying that you’re only hearing the songs that you always play and not more random songs that never get played, then that might be due to chance – it doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with Spotify. It just looks like your luck isn’t very good.

There’s A Bug

If your Spotify shuffle sucks to the point where it’s blatant that the same songs are playing again and again, then it looks like there’s a bug. Sometimes bugs can cause issues within Spotify and this is due to there being a problem with the software. To fix this, you’ll need to person some troubleshooting steps to get rid of the bug. It’s unlikely that there’s a bug that’s causing the shuffle to be that bad but if there is, it can easily be fixed with a few steps so there’s nothing to worry about.

There Aren’t Enough Songs In The Playlist

Let’s say you only have 5 songs in a playlist, then of course the same songs are going to keep playing. You need to make sure that there’s enough music within a playlist to ensure that it has a chance to play the music that you don’t listen to as often. When there are limited songs, it’ll still be random but there’s more chance that the same songs will continuously play than if there was a larger pool of songs for the algorithm to choose from.

Does Spotify Shuffle Prioritize Certain Songs?

There are patterns to your shuffle, but there’s a way to teach the algorithm you want to change things up. I’ve noticed that when I shuffle my main playlist, songs I have on repeat a lot at the moment always crop up within the first 10 (Cleo by Shygirl, All Too Well by Taylor Swift, and anything off Lana’s Blue Banisters, if you’re interested).

You may have noticed patterns in your shuffle and you’re right as there are. But you can actually teach the algorithm you want to change things up. Usually when you shuffle a playlist, the songs that you always listen to tend to crop up within the first 10 songs. To fix this and to teach the algorithm that you want to switch it up, shuffle your songs, then turn the shuffle button off, then shuffle again. Doing this will tell the algorithm that you want something different and it’ll switch it up. If you don’t do this, it’ll assume that you’re happy with the same songs that you always listen to being prioritized.

How to Fix Spotify Shuffle

If you want to make Spotify’s Shuffle random so that it plays your whole playlist, then you can do a few things to make it more ‘random’. Although the playlist is already random, you could make it feel more random to you. If there is a bug within the app that’s causing the playlist to play the same songs for example or the same genre, then you should troubleshoot the app to make the shuffle better.

1. Make A Playlist With Songs You Don’t Listen To

Since you feel like Spotify isn’t random enough and it keeps playing the same songs and genre, you should make a playlist with songs that you don’t hear as much. When Spotify is shuffling these songs, it’ll appear as if they’re more random because it’s not playing songs that you haven’t heard in the past.

The downside to this is that you won’t hear songs of the songs you always play; just because it keeps playing the same songs doesn’t mean that you don’t want some of these songs not to play.

If you want some songs you always hear to play occasionally, then you can add a few of them to this playlist. But just make sure that it’s mainly comprised of songs that you don’t listen to.

2. Sort All of your Songs by Title

Change order by title

The first and most popular way you can try and fix this problem is by sorting all of your songs out in the order of title.

Spotify gives you the option of how you want all of your tracks to be ordered by and this Custom, Title, Artist, or Recently Added.

Right now, your tracks are probably sorted by recently added but you want to change that to Title.

To do this:

  1. Open Spotify and Click on the playlist
  2. Once you’ve done this, swipe down and a search bar will appear at the top
  3. Click on the 3 lines towards the right of the search bar
  4. Click on Title
  5. Click on the Shuffle button

Once you’ve done this, you should listen out and check to see if songs are being played randomly and not the same songs are playing repeatedly.

If you’ve tried this and it didn’t work for you, go to the next step.

3. Use the Spotify Shuffler App

Since this problem has gotten out of hand, there is now an application created by 3rd party developers.

This helps you shuffle your music more randomly that Spotify ever will.

Using this app requires you to visit the app each time you want to play music from your playlist.

This shouldn’t be a problem if there’s a lot of tracks on your playlist and you’re going to be listening to a lot of them.

In order to use this app:

  1. Go to Spotify Shuffle and log in with your Spotify credentials
  2. Select the playlist you want to be shuffled
  3. Turn off shuffle in the Spotify app
  4. You can now listen to the playlist that has been randomized by the shuffler

In order to get a new random playlist, you’d have to repeat the same steps with the Spotify shuffle app so that your playlist is shuffled randomly in a new order every time.

4. Update the Spotify App

Since you’re experiencing a badly shuffled playlist, this could be due to the poor steps Spotify have taken to ensure that a playlist is shuffled randomly.

If there’s a new update, there could be a change in the shuffle algorithm which would mean playlists are shuffled more randomly.

You need to go to the store you download the app in and check for a new update.

If there is a new update, then you need to update the app.

If you’ve updated the app and you haven’t seen a difference, go to the next step.

5. Wipe the Cache and Re-Install the App

If there is something currently wrong with the way the app is installed on your device, wiping the cache files would be a necessary step to take.

The cache files are temporary files the tell the app what to do each time you load it.

You want to wipe the app’s data from your device then install the app again to see if anything has changed.

To wipe the app:

  1. Hold down on it and delete it
  2. Go to the app store and re-install again
  3. Visit the app to see if the shuffle is random

6. Switch to Apple Music or Google Play Music

Spotify’s shuffler may just be bad and the only fix here is to switch streaming services. Apple Music and Google play have a great algorithm when it comes to shuffling music and both come at the same price as Spotify at $9.99 or $14.99 with a Family Plan (up to six people).

If you use Spotify’s shuffle to randomize your music every day and you notice that the algorithm is bad, then you should move. You can consider moving back if you maybe realize that one day they’ve improved their algorithm.

7. Sort Your Tracks By Title

Amongst the Spotify community, they’ve figured out that sorting their tracks by title has made sure that the Spotify shuffler plays random songs.

  1. Open Spotify and select the playlist that you want to make more random.
  2. Click Sort in the upper right corner.
  3. Select Title

8. Duplicate The Playlist

Another thing you can do to make the shuffle random and stop the same songs from playing is to duplicate the playlist and delete the original. If there’s something wrong with the playlist itself, duplicating will create a new one meaning there won’t be able problems. Once you’ve made the new one and named it something similar, then you can click the shuffle button and see if it’s random.

9. Log Out and Log In

The last thing to do when your shuffle isn’t working well is to log out of Spotify. When you log out of Spotify and log in, it gets rid of any bugs that were causing issues for you to begin with. Once you’ve logged out, then you need to restart the app and log in again.

David Johnson is a freelance writer with 9 years of experience writing for Techzillo and other established tech outlets like iMore. His focus and key interests are Apple and accessibility as well as consumer technology in general. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Please help me out, my Spotify does not shuffle properly. When I use a large playlist with over 1200 tracks, it makes a selection of about 100 tracks if not less. I tried all the steps above and it does not work.

  2. Yeah no good. Even that spotify shuffler never actually finishes whatever its “Working” on. Really dont understand why this is such a challenge for the entire planet to figure out. The API is stupid simple, having a full list of functions for rearranging the playlist order in whatever fashion needed. Ill just make my own solution.

  3. I agree totally that is immensely frustrating. It even happens with small playlists of 50 or so tracks, cycling through 5 or 6 only.
    Spotify — you need to fix this before all of us ‘shufflers’ bail over to Apple or Google.

  4. I can usually get shuffle to work from my phone, albeit it takes a bit of tinkering occasionally but I’m seeing weird and unfixable results with my Amazon echo and playstation 4. The ps4 just reverts to a few songs or artists to shuffle and the echo becomes alphabetical, you can see the change to the shuffle stack as it connects, I have no idea how to overcome it but since I listen to my spotify collection on shuffle pretty much all the time it’s hugely frustrating. If anyone has found a fix let me know!

  5. There’s no shuffle option altogether. I’ve tried every thing. I kind of am frustrated right now. As spotify was launched recently I our country, I was way too excited and now this is killing all the excitement.

  6. Shuffle issue is clearly a function of an ad spend and semi randomness. Meaning it will always play the same cheapest for Spotify to pay by play songs unless you tinker with ordering yourself.

  7. Haha, it’s not a bug. That’s just how Spotify shuffle works. Their definition of shuffle is playing the songs that you have’t heard in a while and placing the songs that you just heard at the bottom of the queue. You can test it yourself. Make a small playlist and play all of the songs except for one. Then when you shuffle it’ll play the one song you didn’t play. It’s funny that this article defines a bug when they can’t even identify that this isn’t a bug.

    • 100% untrue. I try to use shuffle for the same playlist (120 songs approx.) every day driving to/from work. I hear the SAME songs every time. I also 3- 5 songs from the same artist in a row.

      • It’s actually entirely true. I’m going to guess that those songs you hear every time end up getting skipped in your frustration, and so Spotify catalogs them as unheard and so they’re more likely to play the next time you hit shuffle. I admit, it’s dreadfully annoying and I wish I could just get a proper shuffle, but it’s how it works. I have a general playlist with a majority christian songs and then a few pop/alternative/electro swing songs hanging out every now and then. I tend to listen to it when I want to hear my christian songs, and so I skip past the nonchristian ones a lot. Every time I go to shuffle play, guess what parade of songs I get first, even though they’re the minority of songs? The ones I skip and don’t really listen to, because Spotify notes that I haven’t heard them all the way through for a while and so puts them near the top.

    • It’s only available on premium. I signed up just so I could do that. Shuffle is better now, but still not great.

  8. Again not so I am on premium and have a playlist of over4000 tracks but it just plays the same half dozen artists over and over

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