Why Does Spotify Shuffle Always Play the Same Songs? (Solved)

If you like to make big playlists on Spotify and listen to them on shuffle, you might have noticed a tendency for the same handful of songs to repeat again and again.

Needless to say, this can be frustrating if your goal is to listen to random songs on the playlist to keep it interesting.

So why does Spotify do this? Is there a way around it? Well, strap in, because these are exactly the questions we’re going to do our best to answer today!

Here’s How Spotify Shuffle Defines “Random”:

Spotify Shuffle chooses which songs on a playlist to prioritize based on several factors. Those songs that Spotify perceives that you enjoy most are most likely to play first and repeat most often. This is to give listeners the best experience every single time they use the app.

Woman listening music on her headphones

Is Spotify Shuffle Truly Random?

Many apps use algorithms to “learn what you like“. These algorithms simulate randomness by going through strings of pseudo-random numbers.

Spotify assigns a certain “weight” to songs based on how much it thinks you like them (how many times you’ve played them, mostly).

The songs with the higher “weight” will play more often because Spotify thinks you like them and will like hearing them more.

Unfortunately, this creates a bit of a feedback loop where you only hear the same 20 songs on your hundreds-long playlist because Spotify thinks they’re your favorites.

And it only gets worse from there, because every time you listen to these songs, all you’re doing is convincing Spotify that they’re your favorites and should keep being prioritized.

So this means that Spotify Shuffle is very much not “truly” random, for a couple of reasons.

Does Spotify Just Repeat the Same Songs on Shuffle?

Spotify playlists on Shuffle mode will prioritize songs that Spotify “thinks” you like most.

This doesn’t mean other songs can’t come up too, however, it just means they’ll come up far less than the handful of songs you hear most.

So yes, Spotify Shuffle does tend to repeat a handful of songs over and over, but not exclusively; other songs will be played too sometimes, but far, far less frequently than the “favorites.”

Can You Make Spotify Shuffle All Your Songs?

You certainly could make a playlist with every single song you like to listen to, and set it to shuffle, but the problem isn’t going to go away with a longer song list.

In fact, it might actually make it worse. The shorter the playlist, the fewer options Spotify has to prioritize, and the more likely something new might come up as a result.

But if you make a playlist out of all your music, Spotify Shuffle is just going to grab the same handful of songs it thinks you like most and play them over and over, with something else mixed in very occasionally, if you’re lucky.

What Setting Can You Adjust with Spotify Shuffle?

In short: there is no such setting. Shuffle mode works the way it does and you can’t really tweak it.

The people who designed it that way have a certain idea of what will be most “engaging” to the user and keep you listening, and user customization often doesn’t factor into that vision.

Spotify Free users cannot change any shuffle settings; all tracks and playlists will be shuffled. However, Premium users can choose to listen to their music without shuffle.

Here’s how to turn shuffle play OFF:

  1. Open the Spotify app and go to the ‘Now Playing’ bar. Alternatively, open any of your playlists. 
  2. Next, tap the shuffle symbol. This is an icon of two curved arrows crossed over each other.
    • A green shuffle symbol means that shuffle play is ON
    • A gray shuffle symbol means that shuffle play is OFF. Your tracks will play in order.

Does Spotify Have a “True Shuffle” Function?

Sadly, no, it does not.

However, an idea has been proposed in 2021 that is still live today, so at the very least it may be being considered.

One thing is clear: if you’re annoyed with Spotify’s Shuffle feature as it is, and would like a truly random option, you’re far from alone.

Since the idea is still live at the time of this writing, this also means you can go add your voice to the problem and try to convince Spotify’s leadership to add this feature.

Sadly, there’s not much else that can be done beyond suggesting features, because services like Spotify are controlled entirely by the corporation that owns them.

This means you have no real power in situations like this, other than to stop using Spotify because any control or customization you’re allowed is only given at Spotify’s discretion.

Please also read our article about why Spotify keeps restarting your playlists – with solutions!

What Is the Best Way to Play Spotify Playlists at Random?

Sadly, there currently isn’t a good solution for this. There are some things you can do, but none of them are true solutions to the problem at hand and require compromise.

And, as we know, Spotify Free users can only listen in shuffle.

For Premium users, here are some tricks you can try out:

One trick you can try is to split your big playlists up into multiple, much smaller ones to make them a little more random. The fewer songs on a list, the fewer options Spotify has to try and choose what it thinks your favorites are, and the more likely to are to hear most or all of the songs on the playlist.

Of course, this means making a bunch of tiny playlists that you then have to manually start, and start the next one when it’s over, and so on.

If you like long playlists so you can hit shuffle and let them play for hours and hours in the background, splitting them up into tiny ones isn’t an ideal solution.

Another potential trick is to manually order the songs in a playlist so that different artists, albums, etc., are all mixed up in the playlist.

Then, don’t even use the shuffle button; just play from the beginning in the “shuffled” order you set manually.

You can start the playlist from different points at different times to keep it fresh. Start at the beginning of one day, halfway through a different day, and so on.

Of course, it’s pretty tedious to manually order your songs in a pleasingly shuffled way, and more than a little frustrating, considering the entire point of a shuffle feature is to do that for you.

Finally, the last solution is to take your shuffled playlists out of Spotify entirely: buy the music you want and support your favorite artists more directly in the process.

Then use any old media player app to make your playlist and shuffle it.

This doesn’t solve Spotify’s problem, but you could always use Spotify to discover new artists, then buy their music and make playlists.

It would certainly ensure that far more of your money spent actually went to the artist, supporting their work so they can keep making more music.

Read our blog here about why are Spotify lyrics wrong sometimes?


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