Spotifys AI DJ is amazing

How to get more from Spotify

Most of the world should of heard of Spotify and know what it is and does in some capacity. I’m not going to explain what it does. I will talk about getting more from Spotify through its range of features. I’m constantly listening to this app on both desktop and mobile app version.

Its just gone 15 years since Spotify launched thanks to that small Swedish startup and look at them now, do we really need an AI Yearbook for Spotify? probably not. Its had ist challenges and its had its wins and I really like the product where it is at right now. A touch of innovation and new features with some tried and true foundational features. Its in a good place right now.

They have changed the way we listen to music forever.

Back in October 2008, digital music was in a strange liminal place between iTunes downloads and illegal file-sharing sites like Napster and Limewire. By combining the peer-to-peer technology of Napster with major label licensing deals, Spotify managed to become streaming’s household name – and the rest is musical history.  

But Spotify’s landmark day is also a good time to learn some new tricks that could help turn you into a true power user. Spotify has been introducing new features at a rate of knots lately – most notably a free audiobooks perk for Premium subscribers – so it can easy to miss the handy tools buried in its increasingly bloated app.

If you’re looking to freshen up your Spotify experience or just fine-tune how you use the music-streaming service, here are 15 lesser-known ways to do just that… 

1. Find your old Wrapped playlists

Spotify wrapped playlists
(Image credit: Future)

It’s that time of year where Spotify fans start to feel the anticipation of getting their Spotify Wrapped review of the year. This typically arrives in the last week of November or the first week of December, so what do you do until then? Go back and listen to your previous year’s Wrapped playlists, of course.

To do that, in the app’s search bar type “spotify:genre:2018” (or year to time-travel back to) and it’ll deliver its roundup of your musical tastes from that time, plus some other related playlists.

2. Fine-tune your recommendations

fine tune recommendations
(Image credit: Future)

Are your Discover Weekly and Wrapped roundups constantly derailed by that Sing-Along Car Songs playlist you play on the school run? Then you need to tweak your Taste Profile, a hidden Spotify feature that powers most of its recommendations.

To tell Spotify to ignore the hours you spend listening to your favourite ambient work tunes, tap the three dots at the top of a playlist, then choose ‘Exclude from your Taste Profile’

This only works for playlists, but another way to to disconnect albums and songs from your recommendations is to start a ‘private session’ by going to your profile picture, tapping ‘Privacy & Social‘ then toggling ‘private session’. These sessions pause your listening activity but end automatically after six hours.

3. AI DJ playing tracks just for you

Spotifys AI DJ is amazing

Ok, straight up I was sceptical of this from day dot. But having spent a month or two with this feature on heavy rotation Im good at saying this feature is as hot as dragon fire. I love it!

Your AI DJ is actually voiced by a real person, Xavier Jernigan, and he actually works at Spotify as Head of Cultural Partnerships and AI DJ. His voice made me think of Joe Rogan if he was a black guy and the similarities end with they are both bald. But all jokes aside I loved this feature, Xavier takes me on journeys throughout the day. I enjoy the tunes as they come on and Im fine with an AI DJ entertaining me based solely on what he’s done over the last 40 days of daily listening.

If you want to start listening to X go to the search bar and type in AI DJ and you should see the Green circle that’s your DJ.

Xavier “X” Jernigan, Spotify’s Head of Cultural Partnerships and AI DJ

To read more about the voice of your AI DJ – “X” Xavier read here.

4. Make Spotify sound better

Optimise sound output
(Image credit: Future)

If you’re a Premium subscriber, then you’re probably pretty familiar with offline listening – the mode that lets you download songs to listen to when you’re on a plane or away from a network signal. But did you know you can adjust the audio quality of those downloads, like you can with your streaming quality?

In the app’s Settings (which you open by tapping your profile photos), go to Audio Quality, then scroll down to the Download section. Here you’ll be able to choose between Low, Normal (the default), High and Very High. While High has a bit-rate of around 160kbps, Very High boosts that to around 320kbps.

The latter is still well short of CD-quality lossless audio quality, though that could finally be coming soon in the rumoured Spotify Supremium tier (which is expected to be the new name of the long-awaited Spotify HiFi).

5. Crossfade your playlists

How to crossfade playlists
(Image credit: Future)

Spotify can’t yet mix all of your music with seamless transitions, but it does have a crossfade option to remove the gaps between your playlist songs.

To remove those awkward silences, tap your profile icon in the app, then go to Settings and privacy. In here, head to Playback then scroll down to the Crossfade section. The slider here will let you choose how long from the end of your song Spotify will start blending into the next track (from one second to 12 seconds).

Somewhere in the middle usually works best, though if your playlist songs tend to slowly fade out, you might need a longer crossfade to remove any gaps. 

6. Discover niche genres

Discover other niche genres
(Image credit: Future)

Buried deep in Spotify’s ‘Made for you’ hub is a simple way to travel to the outer edges of your strangest musical indulgences, called Niche Mixes. Here you’ll find entire playlists based on your listening that tease out the micro-genres you didn’t know you loved – from goblincore to funeral doom (no, really).

To find your Niche Mixes, go to the Search section at the bottom of the app, then scroll down to ‘Made for you’. Tap on this, then scroll down to the section called ‘Your Niche Mixes’ where you’ll be introduced to 5-10 mixes of some fairly standard genres alongside Pagode, Dreamo and more.

7. Make a real-time collaborative playlist

How to share a playlist in real time
(Image credit: Future)

Sometimes you have to give up the playlist reigns and bow to the calls for a musical democracy, where everyone can queue up songs for the party speaker. And for that you need the relatively new Spotify Jam feature.

It’s a bit like Blend, only it works in real-time and is only available to people who are all on the same Wi-Fi network. To start a Jam, go to the ‘Now playing’ bar at the bottom of the screen, tap the speaker icon, and tap the ‘Start a Jam’ button

Alternatively, you can also go the three-dot menu below a playlist’s main image, and you’ll find the option in there, too. Once it’s started, you can share your Jam in one of three ways; by sharing the link, getting friends to scan the QR code, or simply bringing your phones close together (with Bluetooth turned on).

8. Rediscover radio stations

How to listen to radios stations
(Image credit: Future)

If the new Spotify AI DJ feature is a little too hit-and-miss for you, then don’t forget that Spotify can rustle up a continually updated playlist based on any song, album, playlist or artist.

To start Spotify Radio, go to one of the above and tap the three-dot menu in the top right-hand corner. Now tap ‘Go to radio’ and you’ll get a playlist that’s around 50 tracks long. 

If you want the playlist to keep going indefinitely, make sure you have Autoplay switched on (go to Settings and privacy > Playback > toggle Autoplay).

9. Take a deep dive into your listening stats

Check your spotify listening statistics
(Image credit: Future)

Spotify Wrapped isn’t your only opportunity to explore your Spotify stats – there’s a wealth of third-party sites that can help unearth some similar insights all year round. You might want to know how long cumulatively you have listened to Spotify for, or what genre has your attention.

The most obvious is Stats for Spotify, which gives you a full breakdown of everything you’ve listened to over your choice of time period, from the last four weeks to the last six months.

But there are a lot more alternatives (some useful, others more just for fun), including the long-standing Last.fmObscurify and Spotify Pie. Check out our guide to the best sites and tools for your analyzing your Spotify listening for a full breakdown.

10. Search Bar boss

Search Bar like a boss
(Image credit: Future)

Much like Google Search, Spotify has some handy modifiers that help you refine what you’re looking for in its own Search bar. I like to search for specific people to see if they have interviews, features and collaborations. Weird fact: I like to see celebrities in interviews to see if they are genuine or stuck-up pricks. Use the search bar for more productive things than me and gain 5 points.

For example, if you search Bowie along with the modifier ‘year:1970-1980’ (with no spaces) you’ll only be shown songs and albums from that era. Similarly, if you can also refine results with a genre command (for example, ‘genre:electronica’), and combine that with the ‘year’ one above.

11. Get a mood-matching playlist

Playlist to match your mood right now
(Image credit: Future)

Spotify doesn’t just know which weird sub-genres you’re into, it also knows what kind of tunes you prefer at different times of the day. And it uses that knowledge to power its new Daylist feature, which is available for both Free and Premium users.

This playlist changes throughout the day, furnishing your ears with a ‘Low-fi Trip Hop’ before morphing into a chillwave Monday morning’. To find your Daylist, either go directly to the official page or find it in the ‘Made for you’ section of the app (tap the Search button at the bottom, then scroll down).

12. Build a DIY dream festival lineup

Design your festival lineup DIY style
(Image credit: Future)

Didn’t quite get the music festival lineup you wanted this year? You can always just make your own dream lineup poster by plugging Spotify into the free Instafest app instead. 

This Spotify festival app connects to your account, analyzes the songs you’ve been listening to recently, and creates a poster that looks remarkably similar to the ones for Coachella, only with your actual dream lineup on it. Having worked in the festival business for many years this little adventure to create my own FIRE festival was a nice touch. No Jah Rule at my FIRE festival.

You can customize the listening period that the poster is based on (from the last four weeks to all-time) and also adjust the poster’s look and feel to what you think represents your festival’s vibe. One extra thing that could make this better is a public voting feature so you can vote on the best lineups and locations and you never know if there could be a dream festival sponsored by Spotify for the winner. Just a thought.

13. Connect Spotify into Shazam

Connect Spotify and Shazam in one
(Image credit: Future)

This one saves me time, I was forever screenshotting my Shazam saves and then emailing myself to find on Spotify later. Yeah, cumbersome AF. After digging through Shazam settings I yelled out loud seeing this beauty of a connection. I can now connect Shazam and Spotify so if I hear some cool sh#t I can Shazam it and then play it and follow the artist on Spotify seamlessly.

The song identifier Shazam, which launched back in 2002 and was later bought by Apple, is even older than Spotify. But it’s still one of the most popular free apps around, helping people identify 23,000 songs a minute – and connecting it to Spotify is a very handy way to rediscover those songs you only caught for a few stolen seconds.

In the Shazam app, swipe up to reveal the My Music page, then tap the gears icon in the top-left. You’ll now see an option to connect it to Spotify, which you can do by signing in and authorizing the link. Toggle ‘Sync Shazam to Spotify’ and all of those Shazam-ed songs will be waiting for you in an automated ‘My Shazam Tracks’ playlist.

14. Start a sleep timer

Set up a sleep timer
(Image credit: Future)

One of Spotify’s hidden talents is lulling you to sleep with its increasingly popular white noise playlists (which can also be something of a money-spinner for their creators). But whatever helps you drift off, you’ll want it to automatically stop playing once you’re in dreamland – which is where its sleep timer can help.

To find the sleep timer, tap the ‘Now Playing’ bar for the podcast or song you’re listening to (at the bottom of the screen). This will give you the full ‘Now Playing’ screen. For podcasts, you can tap the moon icon to the right of the play button to bring up the sleep timer, while for music you’ll need to tap the three-dot menu in the top-right corner and then scroll down to Sleep timer.

You can choose how long you want the music to go on for (from five minutes to an hour) and it’ll confirm the timer with an ‘OK, your sleep timer is set’ message.

15. Get Spotify inside Google Maps

Connect spotify with shazam
(Image credit: Future)

This one came to me as a surprise, the first time it happened while driving I had to pullover to work out what just happened, I thought I bugged out Google Maps but nope it was a genius move from both platforms allowing both to work in harmony.

If you regularly drive using Google Maps but don’t have the likes of Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, then the next best thing is connecting Spotify to Maps so you can get its music controls alongside your directions.

To do this, open Google Maps, then tap your profile icon in the top-right. Now tap Settings, then Navigation. In here, you’ll find a ‘Music playback controls’ option, where you can connect your Spotify account by signing in and accepting the terms.

Now when you start a journey with live directions, you’ll see Spotify’s playback controls in the bottom-left corner underneath your estimated journey time. From here you can browser playlists and control your tunes, without having to go in and out of the Spotify app.

16. Audiobook Library

Spotify audiobook

Premium subscribers will get a new perk: 15 hours of audiobooks each month. You can choose from a library of 150,000 audiobooks, including huge titles from the biggest publishers, and more titles will be added “constantly”. The new feature will launch on October 3, 2023, in the UK and Australia, and will arrive in “winter” in the US.

You can already buy audiobooks on Spotify to listen to, and a very limited selection of books has been available for free to all users – but this is the first time a library of books has been available as part of a Spotify subscription in the US and UK.

Premium subscribers will be able to listen to snippets of many books to try things, or you can just focus on one – you don’t need to choose a book and commit to it. I don’t read books unless they are super important to me and what Im trying to do, and audiobooks I just cant do, but for a lot of people I know they love this feature and its a easier way than buying a new platform (like a Kindle) just read books.

15 hours doesn’t sound like a huge amount, but it’s enough for two shorter audiobooks or one longer one. Spotify is confident this will satisfy most casual audiobook listeners or those who haven’t really listened to audiobooks much before and are just getting into it – that’s very much who the company is aiming this upgrade at. If you run out of time, you can top up with another 10 hours of listening for $9.99 / £9.99 / AU$11.99, and these 10 hours won’t run out at the end of the month – they’ll last until you use them, as long as you use them within a year. Your regular 15 hours won’t roll over to next month if you don’t use them, though.

I hope this helped you find some new features that make the listening experience even better.