Why Is My Spotify Playing Random Songs and How To Fix It

You're jamming to your favorite tunes, and suddenly, a wild song appears out of nowhere. It's like your playlist has been possessed! If this musical mayhem sounds familiar, you're not alone. It's a frustrating Spotify quirk that happens to the best of us. 

Don't worry, though, because I've got your back. Let's dive into why this happens and how to get your music back on track.

Decoding Spotify's playlist features: Where the chaos begins

Before we banish those random songs, let's get a handle on the Spotify features that might be causing the chaos. Think of it like understanding your enemy before you go to battle.

  • Shuffle: The most notorious troublemaker. When this little button is green, it's like a DJ with a mischievous grin throwing your songs into a blender. 
  • Autoplay: This feature's intentions are good – it keeps the music flowing when your playlist or album ends. But sometimes, it can feel like a pushy salesperson recommending songs you didn't ask for.
  • Enhanced playlists: Think of this as Spotify trying to be your personal DJ. It analyzes your listening habits and adds songs it thinks you'll like to your playlists. Sometimes it nails it; other times... not so much.
  • Radio: Similar to Enhanced Playlists, Spotify Radio creates a station based on an artist, genre, or song. It's a fun way to discover new music, but it can also lead to unexpected detours on your musical journey.
  • Daily mix: This is Spotify's attempt to curate a daily playlist just for you. But hey, even your best friend doesn't always know what you want to hear, right?

Disabling autoplay on Spotify

Autoplay can be a real buzzkill when you're trying to savor the silence after your carefully curated playlist ends. Thankfully, turning it off is a breeze:

Spotify app downloaded in a smartphone
  1. Mobile app: Open Spotify and tap the gear icon (Settings) in the top right. Scroll down to "Playback" and toggle the "Autoplay" switch to the left.

  2. Desktop app: Find your profile picture, click it, and then "Settings." Look for “Autoplay” and turn it off. 

Remember, disabling Autoplay doesn't stop your current song from playing. It simply prevents Spotify from automatically queuing up similar songs once your playlist or album ends.

Enhanced playlists: friend or foe?

Enhanced playlists can introduce you to new songs you might love, but they can also disrupt the flow of your carefully crafted playlists.

  • The good: Enhanced Playlists can expand your musical horizons by suggesting songs based on your listening habits.
  • The bad: They can sometimes feel intrusive, adding songs that don't match the mood or theme of your playlist.
  • The verdict: It's a personal preference. If you enjoy the element of surprise, keep them on. If you prefer to be in complete control of your music, turn them off.

To toggle Enhanced Playlists, go to the playlist and look for the "Enhance" button. If it's green, tap it to turn it off (gray).

Clearing your Spotify queue: spring cleaning for your music

Your Spotify queue is like a musical to-do list. Sometimes, it can get cluttered with songs you didn't add or don't want to hear. Clearing the queue is a quick fix for unexpected playback:

  1. Mobile app: Tap the "Now Playing" bar at the bottom of the screen to open the queue. Go to the top right corner of your app, and then click on the three dots. Afterwards, click "Clear."

  2. Desktop app: Click the queue icon (three lines with a play button) in the bottom right corner. Hover over a song and click the "X" to remove it, or click "Clear" to remove all songs.

A listener of Spotify smiling while walking

Checking for Spotify app updates: Stay ahead of the game

Spotify frequently releases updates to fix bugs, improve performance, and introduce new features. Keeping your app updated can help prevent random song playback caused by software glitches:

  1. Mobile app: Visit the App Store (iOS) or Google Play Store (Android) and search for "Spotify." If an update is available, tap "Update."

  2. Desktop app: Spotify usually updates automatically, but you can check for updates manually by clicking "Help" in the top menu and selecting "About Spotify." If an update is available, it will download and install automatically.

Remember, keeping your Spotify app up-to-date ensures you have the latest bug fixes and features, which can help prevent those pesky random songs from hijacking your playlist.

Common reasons why Spotify plays random songs: Unmasking the culprits

Now that we've got the lowdown on the features, let's dig into the common reasons they might be causing your Spotify to play musical roulette:

  1. Shuffle or autoplay on autopilot: Always, always double-check these. It's easy to accidentally tap them and then wonder why your music is playing hopscotch.

  2. Enhanced playlists hijacking your tunes: That seemingly innocent "Enhance" button can be a real party crasher. If it's green, it's adding its own party favors (a.k.a. songs) to your playlist.

  3. Cross-device confusion: If you're listening on multiple devices, Spotify can sometimes get its wires crossed and start playing from a different device or playlist.

  4. Software glitches: Even the best apps have their bad days. Sometimes, a bug in Spotify can cause unexpected behavior, like playing random songs.

  5. Algorithm overreach: Spotify's recommendation algorithm is a bit like a well-meaning friend who sometimes misses the mark. It might pull in songs based on a song you listened to once—five years ago.

Why is my Spotify playing random songs and not my playlist

Ready to kick those random songs to the curb? Here's your battle plan:

A woman playing a song on her guitar to be uploaded on Spotify
  1. Double-check shuffle and autoplay: Look for those icons and make sure they're turned off (gray). If they're green, give them a tap to disable them.
  2. Defeat the enhance button: Go to your playlists and turn that "Enhance" button to gray. Your playlist, your rules!
  3. Clean out the queue: Sometimes, the queue gets clogged with unwanted songs. Open the queue and hit "Clear" to start fresh.
  4. Check your connections: If you're using multiple devices, make sure Spotify is playing from the right one. Head to the "Devices Available" menu and select the device you're using.
  5. Update and upgrade: Spotify regularly releases updates to fix bugs and improve performance. Update your app regularly. 

Understanding Spotify's algorithm

“Why is my Spotify playing random songs?” Spotify's recommendation algorithm might be the culprit. It is a complex beast designed to serve you a personalized music experience. At its core, it uses collaborative filtering. 

It analyzes what you and other users with similar tastes listen to and suggests tracks you haven't heard but are likely to enjoy. This is why discovering new artists through Spotify's curated playlists is so common.

But it goes deeper. Spotify also uses natural language processing (NLP) to analyze how music is described online, even factoring in lyrics and genre classifications. This helps the algorithm understand the mood, theme, and style of songs, matching them to your preferences. 


More notes to remember:

  • Collaborative filtering: The algorithm looks at what other users with similar tastes like to recommend music to you.
  • Natural language processing: Spotify analyzes how songs are described online to understand their mood and style.
  • Listening habits: Your listening habits, like the time of day and devices you use, influence recommendations.

Addressing cross-device syncing issues

Spotify's cross-device syncing is usually seamless, but hiccups can occur. If your playlists or current tracks aren't syncing:

Spotify playing on a car dashboard
  1. Check your connection: Ensure all devices are connected to the internet and logged into the same Spotify account.

  2. Force a sync: Open the app on each device, start playing a song, and then pause it. This often triggers a manual sync.

  3. Offline mode: If you use offline mode on one device, changes will not sync until you're back online.

  4. Restart the app: A simple app restart can sometimes resolve syncing glitches.

  5. Reinstall the app: As a last resort, try reinstalling the Spotify app on the problematic device.

Preventing future playlist takeovers: keeping the chaos at bay

Once you've restored order to your playlist, let's make sure this doesn't happen again:

  • Tame the auto-add features: Go to your Spotify settings and disable any automatic playlist additions you don't want.
  • Curate with care: Regularly review your playlists and remove any songs that don't fit the vibe.
  • Stay in the know: Keep up with Spotify's updates and new features. This will help you understand any changes that might affect your playback.
  • Speak your mind: If you're still experiencing issues, let Spotify know. Your feedback can help them improve the app for everyone.

Your 'Liked Songs' and the Spotify Wrapped effect

Did you know that your "Liked Songs" collection and your Spotify Wrapped history can sometimes play a role in the random song shuffle? It might not be immediately obvious, but here's how it works:

Liked songs influence recommendations

Spotify's algorithm takes your "Liked Songs" into account when generating recommendations. If you've recently liked a song that's drastically different from your usual taste, it might start popping up in unexpected places.

Spotify Wrapped flashbacks

After your annual Spotify Wrapped roundup, you might find yourself revisiting your top songs from the previous year. This can influence the algorithm's suggestions, leading to a wider range of genres and moods in your playlists.

A man listening to his Spotify Wrapped playlist

Think of it like this: your "Liked Songs" and Spotify Wrapped are like wildcards in your musical deck. They can spice things up and lead to unexpected discoveries, but they can also throw off your groove if you're not careful.

Taming your "Liked Songs":

  • Regularly review: From time to time, review your "Liked Songs" and remove any tracks that don't truly reflect your current taste.
  • Create genre-specific playlists: If you enjoy a variety of genres, consider making separate playlists for each one. This can help prevent your "Liked Songs" from influencing the wrong playlist.

Managing the Spotify Wrapped effect:

  • Create a "Time Capsule" playlist: If you want to revisit your Spotify Wrapped songs later, create a separate playlist for them. This way, they won't interfere with your other playlists.
  • Start fresh: After Spotify Wrapped, you might want to clear your "Recently Played" history to reset the algorithm's understanding of your current mood and preferences.

By managing your "Liked Songs" and Spotify Wrapped influence, you can take back control of your playlists and minimize the chances of random songs crashing your listening party.

Wrapping up

"Why is my Spotify playing random songs?" You can answer that now by yourself! 

It's all about understanding those sneaky features, diagnosing the culprit, and taking swift action to regain control of your playlists.

Whether it's a rogue Shuffle button, an overzealous algorithm, or a mischievous Autoplay, you now have the power to banish those random songs and create the perfect listening experience. Remember, your Spotify, your rules! So go forth and enjoy uninterrupted musical bliss.

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