Spotify's Play Queue and History - dummies

Spotify’s Play Queue and History

By Kim Gilmour

The Play Queue, an option on the Spotify main sidebar, is a neat little feature that tells you what Spotify’s going to play next. Just click the Play Queue button to access the Play Queue page, which displays the track currently playing, followed by the tracks that are queued up to play next. The thing is, it can take a little bit of getting used to.

There are two main ways of making the Play Queue work:

  • Let Spotify logically decide what tracks it’s going to play (for example, if you select an album and start playing the first song, it’ll play you the rest of the tracks from that album).

  • Manually add songs you want to hear to the Play Queue; a great way of managing the music you want to listen to during a Spotify session.

When you quit Spotify, your Play Queue is wiped clean and ready for another day.

Let Spotify decide which tracks to play

If you didn’t add any tracks to your Play Queue (or your Queue comes to an end), then Spotify uses a default play-queue mechanism to determine what it will play next in the list, based on a number of factors:

  • The album you’ve selected: Spotify plays tracks from the album either in the order they were meant to be heard or shuffled if you have Shuffle mode selected by clicking the interwoven arrows at the bottom-right of the window.

  • A playlist you selected: Spotify queues up tracks from a playlist in the order in which they were arranged or shuffled if you have Shuffle mode turned on.

  • A list of your latest search results: When playing tracks from search results, Spotify plays tracks from this list.

  • Radio: Whether you’re listening in Spotify Radio or a related artist’s radio mode, Spotify lets you know what tracks it’ll play next. Most of the time, these tracks are a fairly random selection.

  • Local files: If you’ve just started playing tracks from your Local File index, then Spotify plays these tracks in the order they’re currently displayed (if you’ve sorted them by artist, for instance, they play in that order). Songs are shuffled if you select Shuffle mode.

To see why Spotify is playing what it’s playing, click the Play Queue button to display, at the top of the actual Queue, Playing from: Source.

However, the moment you manually add tracks to the Queue, these added tracks take priority. For example, say you’re listening to Track 3 of an album, but then you add to the Queue a song from a completely different place.

The next song Spotify plays isn’t Track 4 of the album you’re listening to; it’s the song you just added to the Queue. Understanding how the Play Queue works is a little confusing at first, it must be said — but it’s quite useful after you get the hang of it.

Spotify has also finally added play-queue functionality to its mobile application.

Manually add tracks to the Spotify Queue

You can manually add songs to the Play Queue and bypass Spotify’s default queue. One way to do this is to click and drag a track to the Play Queue button in the sidebar (you can also right-click a song and select Queue). You can choose to add several songs at a time, for instance, by clicking and dragging an entire album or playlist to the Queue.

Songs are added to the Play Queue in the order you drag them. Go to the Play Queue page to view the tracks that have been queued. Songs you add are always marked yellow for easy reference; to delete a track you’ve added from the Queue, highlight it by clicking it, and then press Delete on your keyboard.

This process doesn’t delete the track from your computer or from a playlist; just from the Queue.

Note that you can’t delete songs from your Play Queue that you haven’t added yourself (and aren’t marked in yellow), but you can move them around. Drag the track farther down the Queue and release the mouse button when the white line below the last track you want to hear is highlighted, thus pushing the unwanted track down to the bottom.

And you can rearrange the songs you’ve manually added in this way, too.

Songs you add to the Queue always take priority — you can always double-click a track that isn’t in the Queue to make Spotify play it, but if you also add a load of tracks to the Play Queue, then these songs play after the current track that you double-clicked ends.