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Spotify is splitting the play and shuffle buttons — but there's a catch

Spotify play button for playlists
(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Spotify wants to give users more control over how they listen to music on the platform.
  • The service is adding separate play and shuffle buttons for Premium users.
  • The new change will be available in the app's Android and iOS versions in the coming weeks.

Spotify is finally adopting one of YouTube Music's most useful features for years: the ability to play or shuffle soundtracks with separate buttons. The new change is coming to both its Android and iOS apps.

The service has announced that the separate play and shuffle buttons will be available only to Premium subscribers in the coming weeks. The goal is to give them more control over how they listen to music.

Prior to this update, you could only use the combined play/shuffle button, which played songs at random by default. To play them in order, you'd have to tap individual songs. What's perplexing is that the desktop version lacks this combined functionality, with only the play button appearing on album and playlist pages.

This was one of the app's long-standing drawbacks, forcing Adele to request a revamp. Spotify seemed to have heeded the singer's call and removed the default shuffle feature from albums late last year.

“We don’t create albums with so much care and thought into our track listing for no reason,” Adele tweeted then. "Our art tells a story and our stories should be listened to as we intended."

The separate functions will appear at the top of albums and playlists, as they do on many of the best music streaming services, such as YouTube Music and Apple Music.

Spotify separate play and shuffle buttons

(Image credit: Spotify)

"This new change will allow you to choose the mode you prefer at the top of playlists and albums and listen the way you want to," Spotify said in a blog post (opens in new tab). "Whether you love the joy of the unexpected with Shuffle mode, or prefer listening to tunes in order by simply pressing Play, Spotify has you covered."

However, the new update might not sit well with free users who have long clamored for the same change. Indeed, Spotify charging for what should be the most basic function of its app is a bit surprising.

Jay Bonggolto
Jay Bonggolto

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.