I've been a Spotify user for years--ever since I didn't have a use for iTunes, iPods, or Apple in general really. But the problem with music streaming services became clear after years of reckless song-liking and album-saving.
"Epic collection, friend. There's no room in your library. To save more, you'll need to remove some songs or albums."
This was the problem that plagued my music listening habits. I couldn't save more than 10,000 songs to my Spotify library.
10,000 is more than enough, but my library was so crammed with useless saves that the songs I actually liked weren't saving.
Don't even get me started on how frustrating it is to find out you have three of the same album saved as duplicates for whatever reason, or when they removed the overarching Songs category in favor of Liked Songs which resulted in me having to go and like every song from every album I saved so I could have a proper all-song-shuffle of my library.
And don't bring up how their shuffle feature is a mess of only shuffling songs from the same 5-6 bands within the general vicinity of the song you started your session with.
I Had A Mission
My 2020 goal was to listen to every song I saved on Spotify, un-liking everything I didn't care for in an effort to have a perfectly cleaned up library.
It was easier than I anticipated because, like I said earlier, I already went and liked every song from all the albums I had saved regardless of if I ever got around to listening to them. It was like killing two birds with one stone: clean up my saved songs while also removing terrible albums.
This took five months, but I finally did it. I went from a maxed-out 10,000 song library to a measly 7,021. It's still way too much, but for a first round of this project I think I did a damn good job with a ~30% decrease.
Since Spotify has categories for Liked Songs, Albums, and Artists, I decided to try and change the way I view them. That resulted in the following definitions:
- Liked Songs: anything I wouldn't mind hearing if I decided to turn on shuffle and let it sit untouched.
- Albums: albums I liked, anticipated listening to later, or knew I wanted for future reference. I didn't actually like every song on every album, so I un-liked the less-good songs or songs that would clutter my shuffle, and kept the album as a whole.
- Artists: honestly, I went in and unfollowed a load of artists, but I don't have a great use for this. If I have to go and manually follow an artist to see all I've saved from them then I don't want to deal with it.
Then There Was A Problem
I thought I was done until I saw some Liked Songs I didn't remember seeing from bands I never even heard of. That was when I learned there were still lingering songs in my shuffle pile from years of nonsensical liking without any regard for how it'd affect my library.
But I get it; my obsession with having a clean digital profile is relatively recent and certainly came after signing up for Spotify. So, while I've mostly got a clean library, there are loose ends I'll have to deal with when they hit my ears.
The 10,000 Limit Is Gone
It's my luck that after months of hard music-listening work Spotify decides to get rid of their 10,000 song library limit. The feelings I had were a mix of joy and shock, knowing all this mental load could've been avoided by living with a crappy library a few more months.
I'm happy I did it though. It's hard to explain, but I feel like I have a better understanding of my musical tastes after all this. I feel closer to my collection in a way.
All that said, thanks Spotify, for giving me a great listening experience, but also for doing me dirty yet again by taking way too long to implement one of your most requested features.