How to improve your YouTube Music recommendations

Even if you've never used the YouTube Music app or shiny new desktop site before, chances are your profile is already chock-full of recommendations. YouTube Music shares a library and a history with the main YouTube app, and so that means that every video that you've searched for or watched with your account is being used to calculate what music you'd like to listen to.

Unfortunately, not everything in our YouTube history is something we want affecting our recommendations or Your Supermix — especially those Disney songs your niece demanded to sing along to while you were babysitting. Here's how to clear out the clutter and improve your YouTube Music offerings.

Regularly rate recommendations

Google Pixel 5a

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central Hit that thumbs up to the right of the song title. (Image credit: Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

While you're listening to any radio station, don't just skip past songs you don't like; thumb them down so they leave and don't come back. If you're listening with the screen off or using wonderful Google Assistant speakers to play some music, you can say "OK Google, I don't like this song." It takes more time than just saying "Next," but it will help start purging songs you're not a fan of. You can also thumb songs up or down after the listening session in your YouTube Music history. You'll have to click the three-dot menu on each song individually to thumb a song up or down.

If you keep getting recommendations from an artist you hate, thumbs them down every time, then go give YouTube Music feedback that you'd like a "Block artist/album" feature to keep other songs by them from popping up.

If songs you like pop up in your recommendations, give them a thumbs up and add them to your library. It will ensure you get more music like that and less like the songs you thumb down.

Purge your YouTube history

Removing Videos From Youtube History Screen

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

YouTube Music and YouTube share search history and watch history, so cleaning up one helps you clean up both. Not all YouTube history appears in YouTube Music, and not all YouTube Music history appears in YouTube, which means that even if you prune your YouTube Music history regularly after a Discover Mix keeps playing songs you dislike, non-music YouTube history can still impact recommendations. To curb this, you should absolutely go clean or clear your YouTube history at least once and do a deep clean.

You can either go to YouTube history on desktop and go through your history category-by-category, or you can go through them on the YouTube app for Android, where you'll need to go a few different places.

Note: Deleting your watch and search history will drastically alter your YouTube Music recommendations, as they will only have your library, your rated songs, and your liked artists to go off of until you build your history back up.

Know when to pause your history

Another setting to be very, very aware of here is pausing your YouTube or YouTube Music history. It's a great way to keep yourself from having to go purge your history time and time again.

if you know you're about to listen to music that you don't want impacting your YouTube Music recommendations, you should pause your history, then un-pause it when you're done. For instance, if you're going to use YouTube Music to provide the music at a party and know your partner's old college cohort is going to request dusty, old country songs every 20 minutes, that would be an excellent time to hit pause. Here's how:

  1. Tap your avatar icon in the top right corner of YouTube Music's Home or Library tabs.
  2. Tap Settings.
  3. Scroll down to tap Location & privacy.
  4. Tap Pause watch history and/or Pause search history.Source: Android Central

Just make sure that at the end of the party/sing-along/event, you come back to the same screen to unpause it so that your history doesn't stay frozen in time.

Listen to more music

YouTube Music

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

The more history you have with YouTube Music, the more it will learn about you, your tastes, and your habits. Not to mention, the more music you listen to, the more likely you are to find music you forgot you liked, or albums that you didn't realize had been released, or remixes that blow the original out of the water.

So listen to YouTube Music and let it get to know you!

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.

6 Comments
  • Not available in my country, so... Meh.
    Spotify's still the premier music streaming service here.
  • Step 1. Get update for new YouTube Music
    Step 2. Realize you never got it.
    Step 3. Return to Spotify
  • Did you sign up for Early Access to YouTube Music? https://music.youtube.com/coming-soon/
  • Been using YT Music for a long time and love it. Only place I can find a large amount of remixes of my favorite tracks
  • Yeah, YouTube is one of the best places anywhere to get remixes and mashups. It's a bummer than some remixes are kept from YouTube Music because of label deals, but at least those are still available in the main YouTube app.
  • I just tried it. So if you don't have YouTube red, you can't listen to music with the screen off or just in audio mode?? Because that would be a deal breaker compared to other music apps with free subscriptions