We have all had that moment when we are enjoying a curated playlist on the Spotify app and it starts playing random songs. By random, we are referring to songs that are not on your playlist.
It can mess up your music listening experience and is a common complaint among Spotify users.
These songs kick in right after a song from your playlist ends. It could be something completely random or a song from a different album that is not a part of your playlist. In other words, you never put them there.
The ‘Auto Play’ feature is the number one reason why Spotify plays random songs. Many users are not aware of this and may leave it on.
This prompts the Spotify algorithm to identify songs that you like. These ‘suggested songs’ are selected are based on previous plays by the algorithm.
Frankly, the algorithm is nifty. It recommends song excellent songs if you are in the mood to experiment. Nevertheless, it can be annoying when you want to listen to songs only on your playlist.
So, why does Spotify play suggested songs while listening to a playlist? How are these songs selected? Does this happen only to those who have a free account?
In this post, we discuss why random songs keep playing on Spotify and how to stop this from happening.
Why does Spotify play random songs?
There are many reasons why Spotify can play random songs. It typically happens due to the autoplay feature in the app. The feature is linked to a Spotify algorithm that tries to identify your musical taste and play recommendations based on your listening habits.
In other words, Spotify will play a song from an artist you listen to or a similar artist.
These recommended songs or songs that play randomly are called suggested songs.
For instance, if you listen to songs by The Cure, a random song by the band may play even though it is not added to any of your playlists. Secondly, it can also be something from the same genre.
Love pop? You might hear random pop songs playing if AutoPlay is on.
It is Spotify’s way of introducing users to new artists and vice versa. It helps artists expand their fan base.
Additionally, it is designed to enrich your listening experience with intelligent suggestions. It can spare you the trouble of looking for artists similar to the ones you like.
Why does Spotify play random songs that are not on my playlist?
There are several reasons Spotify plays random songs. Most commonly, it happens because the Autoplay feature is turned on in the app. Autoplay allows it to “play similar songs when your music ends.” Therefore, when a song ends Spotify plays random songs based on your history. However, new updates and ensuing bugs (in the code) can also cause this to happen.
Recent Updates to Spotify’s Autoplay feature:
In November 2021, Spotify moderators confirmed that random songs playing at the end of a playlist were not a bug. It is a feature – by design – included in the latest update to autoplay.
Ever since, Spotify plays recommended tracks indefinitely once you are done playing a playlist, album, or song selection. In simple words, you cannot stop Spotify from playing random songs after your album or playlist is done playing.
The app will not stop playing music when your song selection is done, as one would expect. Secondly, if you have a free account, Spotify will start auto-playing songs when your music or playlist ends.
It’s all recommendations based on the kind of stuff you listen to regularly.
You can enable repeat on an album/playlist to prevent Autoplay. It does not fully resolve the issue, but that is because Spotify wants to “continue and enrich your listening experience.”
Why does Spotify play a different song than what I clicked on?
Spotify users often state that the app plays a random song instead of the one they clicked on. Random here means different. The app plays songs from your playlist, just not the ones you tapped or clicked on.
For instance, you might click on “Love Story” by Taylor Swift and it will play “Fearless.” They both belong to the same album and might be on your playlist. These issues seem to happen more often to free users or listeners who use the Spotify Web Player, even when it is not on shuffle.
Check if you have downloaded the latest update. Ensure that your operating system and device’s firmware are up to date. Sign out of Spotify on your device and sign in again. If that does not work, you may even need to uninstall and reinstall the app.
However, this may not resolve it. Autoplay, Shuffle, or Repeat settings have little to do with this issue. Here are a few issues Spotify users have reported in the past –
- You click a track from an album but Spotify plays the first track from it.
- Clicking ‘Play again’ causes Spotify to play a random song (Chrome).
- Spotify plays the most recently added songs to a playlist instead of the way you organized it.
There have been several reports on the forums after new updates that can cause Spotify to play a different song than what is clicked. Sometimes it can even be Windows or Chrome related.
Luckily, it is temporary and resolved with subsequent updates.
How to stop Spotify from playing random songs?
Generally, Spotify will stop playing random songs once you disable the ‘Autoplay’ feature. Open the Spotify app on your device and go to the home page. Click or tap on the gear icon (Settings) on the top right of the screen. Scroll down the tab until you see an ‘AutoPlay’ option. Disable ‘Autoplay’ by tapping on the button to the right.
TL;DR Version – Spotify Home > Settings > Disable AutoPlay
For many users, the above-mentioned process resolves this issue. Do not be hasty to assume there is no option in the settings. You need to screen scroll quite a bit before you see ‘Autoplay.’
If that does not work, here are a few other ways to stop Spotify from playing random songs.
Make bigger playlists
Spotify will often include suggested songs if there are not enough songs in a playlist. It is more likely to happen to free users. You can remedy this by making longer playlists. It is also less likely to happen if you include tracks from multiple artists.
Get a Spotify Premium Plan
Having a Premium plan with AutoPlay disabled is a sure-shot way to listen to the songs in your playlist. Many users stopped encountering random songs after they upgraded to Premium. That being said, you need to pay $9.99 per month (or the regional equivalent) for it. The upside is that you get access to other exclusive features as well.
Change your Password
If none of the above work, someone may have hacked your account. Or, you forgot to sign out when you logged in to another device at work, school, or a friend’s place.
If that’s the case, log out from all your Spotify account pages, log in again, and change your Spotify password. You might need to do the same for your Facebook account if the two are connected.
Check out the tips on how to protect your Spotify account to avoid this in the future.
For more information take a look at this YouTube video.
What to do if Spotify is stuck on Shuffle?
You can toggle the ‘Shuffle’ mode in the Spotify app by tapping the icon at the bottom of your screen in song view. The app displays the current mode with the shuffle icon active or greyed out.
Spotify will not shuffle the playlist if the icon is greyed out.
There is another way to do this when you view the playing screen of the app on your device. Tap the album artwork and you will see ‘Shuffle’ among the options. Tap it to and grey it out.
For those unaware, the Spotify shuffle icon is two curvy arrows intersecting each other, typically found at the bottom of your screen in song view. You can click any song in your playlist after you turn it off.
The songs will play in the established order starting from the song you click.
The process is the same for Android and iOS users regardless of whether you are using a desktop, tablet, or mobile. Note that ‘Shuffle’ does not cause Spotify to play random songs.
It only randomizes the order in which the songs of a playlist are played.
It can be frustrating when an arbitrary song creeps up to ruin the vibe of a playlist. We hope this post has answered your questions on why it happens and how to prevent it.
Leave a comment to share your experience and if you have any workarounds that we may have missed. We will continue to update this article if any changes are made in future updates by Spotify.