Adele Convinces Spotify to Remove Shuffle Button From Album Pages

Spotify has removed the shuffle button as their default method of playing albums, apparently due to a request by the singer Adele.

Adele wrote in a tweet: “We don’t create albums with so much care and thought into our track listing for no reason. Our art tells a story and our stories should be listened to as we intended.

Spotify replied “anything for you”, and they later declared “new premium feature… to make play the default button on all albums”

Artists have long criticized the default shuffle feature for albums on Spotify because many albums are made to be listened to in a certain order.

This is especially important when it comes to concept albums, where the order you listen to tracks within albums matters a lot (Random Access Memories by Daft Punk, for example). In fact, the context of the songs might not make as much sense when you listen to them randomly.

Was it Just a Publicity Stunt?

Who knows if Spotify modified this directly due to Adele’s request. It is possible if they already had this feature in the pipeline and they released it quickly in order to gain publicity. However, regardless of if this is a publicity stunt or not, this is a good move for artists.

Is Spotify Just Catering to Celebrity Artists?

Spotify catering almost instantly to Adele’s request is yet another reminder that Spotify may be focusing far more on pop celebrities rather than listening to the vast majority of their artist base.

Spotify has been the subject of pretty intensive criticism in recent years from artists, due to their low payouts to artists, as well as Spotify’s overall stance on the authenticity and integrity of music. For example, Spotify CEO’s inferred that music is effectively a commodity when he said that it’s “‘not enough’ for artists to release albums “every 3-4 years”.

Such a move to cater to so quickly cater to a celebrity like this may just dissolution their artist base even further.

How Did Spotify Manage to Release the Update So Quickly?

Regardless of their motives, it was also impressive how quickly that Spotify released this update. You may think that such a change is trivial, but when it comes to complex apps with such a massive user base, it’s anything but! This is likely thanks to the way that they’ve created their software. In the IT world, they use what is called a micro-service architecture on their platform, where they can quickly deploy small changes very easily without affecting the rest of the platform.

Conclusion

Removing the shuffle button on albums by default is certainly a good thing for artists. However, it’s a small gesture that certainly may have been done just to gain them additional publicity. If Adele wasn’t such a celebrity, it’s highly unlikely that Spotify would have entertained the request.

Image by: Vogue Taiwan, CC BY 3.0, via YouTube

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