Tools for finding new music you’ll love on Spotify

Yes, we love vinyl too, but even if the quality is not the same, digital playlists are way easier to make.

Yes, we love vinyl too, but even if the quality is not the same, digital playlists are way easier to make. (Mark S / Unsplash /)

With more than 50 million tracks on Spotify, you’d be forgiven for occasionally wanting a little extra help when it comes to choosing what to listen to next. The good news is there are tools that can help—whether you want to generate a playlist from a particular song, a mood, or another type of prompt, these apps and plug-ins can breathe new life into your Spotify collection.

MagicPlaylist

For MagicPlaylist, all you need is a song: Plug it into the web app, and get a playlist full of similar music out at the other end. Start typing into the search box at the top of the home page to find that your track of choice shows up way before you’ve finished or got to inputting the artist.

Once you’ve found your song, you’ll get your results back—a smattering of tracks from the same artist, plus a selection of others that MagicPlaylist thinks you’ll like based on your original selection, all courtesy of Spotify’s algorithms.

If you can’t pick a song to start with, you can instead select one of the moods on the front page and just let the platform do all the heavy lifting.

Once you’ve got your playlist in front of you, you can use the drop-down menu at the top to restrict its length to one, two, or three hours. Finally, you can give your playlist a name, choose whether it’s public or private, and save it to your Spotify account using the options on the right.

Check out our test, which came from “Wolf Totem” by The Hu.

Spotalike

Did you spend your childhood tracking your listening habits with Last.fm? Boy, you're in for a treat.

Did you spend your childhood tracking your listening habits with Last.fm? Boy, you’re in for a treat. (David Nield/)

Spotalike works in a similar way to MagicPlaylist, and can take prompts from a single song. The difference is that recommendations come from long-running music taste database Last.fm. It’ll serve up a different list of tracks than MagicPlaylist, and you might find its picks suit you even better.

Type your song of choice into the search box on the front page, select the correct title when it appears in the drop-down list, and Spotalike will get to work. After a few seconds, you’ll get several hours worth of music that you’re likely to be into as well.

If you want to give the generated playlist a try, click the Add to Spotify button, and you’ll find it waiting for you in your account, though you’ll have to open the Spotify app to tweak and name it.

Check out the playlist we produced using Spotalike from the initial prompt of “Still Burning” by Incendiary.

Spotify Playlist Generator

The Spotify Playlist Generator is versatile, but not quite as user-friendly as some of the other tools here, as you’ll need to read through all the instructions to learn the type of commands you can use to generate playlists. Enter “#similar fiona apple” to see tracks that sound similar to the singer-songwriter, for example, or “#top fiona apple” to see her most popular tracks.

You can combine these commands together on separate lines, pick out individual tracks and albums, automatically remove duplicates, sort songs based on their popularity on Spotify, and apply a few other tricks to refine your selection and only get what you want. Play around with the examples underneath the input box to get an idea of the syntax.

When you’re done, click Create Playlist, and your tracks will appear. Unfortunately, there’s no option to automatically import the playlist into Spotify, but you can copy the list of songs from your browser and paste them into a playlist inside the Spotify app (open a playlist, then choose Edit and Paste).

Smarter Playlists

If you're the kind of person who genuinely has fun playing around with Microsoft Excel, this is the tool for you.

If you’re the kind of person who genuinely has fun playing around with Microsoft Excel, this is the tool for you. (David Nield/)

Smarter Playlists offers a more complex but a more powerful way of generating playlists. You can combine several playlists, or albums, or artist libraries together, removing duplicates along the way. Check out the imports and examples page to get a better understanding of what’s possible with the web app.

You get to build your playlists like a flow chart: choosing your sources and combining them as required. Blocks will connect automatically, but you can do it manually by clicking on two blocks in succession, then confirming your choice at the top to link them together. To make changes to a particular block (to enter an artist’s name for example), double-click on it—this will also give you some pointers as to how the block works.

Check out this playlist that mixes your favorites with a Spotify playlist, for example, or this one that combines today’s hits and top tracks from 50 years ago. When you’re done, click the green downward arrow to save your smart playlist, check the Save to Spotify box, and then click the green play icon to run it and get your tracks on your account.

Here’s our mix of Pharrell Williams top tracks and Pharrell Williams radio, combined by Smarter Playlists.

Spotify

If you don’t already know, Spotify does an excellent job generating smart, algorithm-driven playlists from single prompts, too, besides all the recommended playlists that it already serves up for you. On any artist page inside the desktop app, for example, click the three dots under their name, then pick Go to Artist Radio to hear tracks from that artist and other similar ones.

This same trick works on album pages and songs as well—just click the three dots beside any song on Spotify, then choose Go to Song Radio to generate an entirely new playlist from that single song. You’ll be given 50 similar songs from similar artists, and in our experience it works pretty well.

Here’s one such playlist prompted by “Dead Bird Sings” by Babybird, so you can see how the feature works in practice—a lot of the songs here have the same sort of vibe. To keep a playlist created in this way, click the three dots on the main playlist page, then choose Save to Your Library.

Source: popsci
Tools for finding new music you’ll love on Spotify