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Spotify's 'Add to Queue' is a lie

Sometimes you don't want to hassle with playlists or radio stations; you just want to throw a few songs together in the queue and get the tunes flowing. Unfortunately for Spotify users, the queue behaves differently — and awkwardly — in ways that can make simple tasks difficult, if not impossible. Chief among the awkward and different ways Spotify's queue works is "Add to Queue," which should really be called something else.

When you add a song to your queue using Add to Queue, rather than adding it to the main queue, it's added to a special sub-queue called "Next in Queue." Next in Queue behaves drastically different than the regular queue:

  • Next in Queue remains next in queue, even if you move to another location in the queue. So if you skip to the end of an album, use Add to Queue on an album, and then skip back to the beginning of the album you were listening to, it won't play the album in the queue and then the second album. It will play the first track of the first album, then the entirety of the second album, then the rest of the first album.
  • Once a track in Next in Queue is played, it vanishes from the playback order. If a song in Next in Queue ends and you hit previous track, it won't be the song that just played, but the last song from the regular queue that played. Tracks can't be replayed unless you restart them before the end of the song.
  • Tracks in Next in Queue do not shuffle when a queue is on Shuffle play. Tracks are played in the order they were added to Next in Queue, and then shuffle will resume in the regular queue.

These deviations may seem minor, but they can add up to a major impact when attempting basic tasks. Want to listen to three albums in a row on Spotify? Well, you need to start with a pre-existing queue, use Add to Queue to put all three albums in Next in Queue in order, then skip the current track in the pre-existing queue to start the three-album mini-queue. Want to shuffle three albums while you listen to them? Well, you'll have to add the albums to a playlist and shuffle them there.

Trying to build a playlist by adding songs to the queue and seeing how they sound in the mix? You'll have to evaluate them before the song ends or drag each one from Play in Next to the regular queue in order to have them not vanish the second the song's over.

Queue management in Spotify is a little bit like playlist management for Spotify: confusingly limited for what seem like simple operations. You can't save a currently playing queue as a playlist either the way many music players do, but given that building a playlist in the queue is next to impossible anyway with Play in Next's behavior, it's a small loss.

Stop the madness

Have you experienced an of these frustrations in Spotify while trying to play a particular mix of albums or songs? Do you just start a new queue or playlist every time you want to heard something? Tell us how you manage it in the comments below, and tell us: should Add to Queue get a different name?

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.

13 Comments
  • what i really miss is the thumbs up and down in lists like Discover Weekly and New Release Radar. Spotify tells me in a response on Twitter those lists get better the longer i use Spotify, but after using it for a year it still gets it mostly wrong. i really don't want to listen to a lot of music i don't like....
  • Tell me about it. Sometimes it feels more like they smashed the random button a few times to generate a list. Most times I only like maybe one ore two songs.
  • I use Google Play Music, which has distinct "play next" and "add to queue" options, which work as expected.
  • This is actually one of the reasons I'm considering switching away from Spotify. Has Google Play sorted out it's random volume adjustments and random censored versions of songs?
  • On the volume, kinda, but they still lack a proper normalization setting. On the censored versions, do you mean when uploading your library or using theirs?
  • I just wish it would finish the playlist or album I'm on then start. I just stopped using it and start a new playlist when the one I'm playing is complete.
    Useless for me and not a complete feature.
  • Yeah, I tried to do that when I was starting a road trip home, and I was so mad when I realized what it had done.
  • I used Google Play Music, but switched to Spotify for the better normalization and crossfading (which come in handy when I'm playing music at events). However, I hate how easy it is to accidentally switch songs when you're trying to adjust the queue, and I hate all of the "tribute to..." versions of songs in Spotify. Also, I don't get why they equate "family plan" to "must all live at one address". They should call it a co-habitation plan. If Google ever gets around to making YouTube RED available in Canada, I'll switch back immediately.
  • Yeah, Spotify is a broken App UI/UX needing a major update in all departments especially search - which is absolutely worthless. Only thing great about Spotify is it's catalog and curation of playlists, not the management of said playlists. The Queue instantly get's screwed when you introduce something more complex to it.
    Why do all of the major music plays from the big players Spotify, Apple and Google have to follow the same, old design patterns. There has to be a better way to negotiate, explore, discover and playback millions and millions of media/content right? Fret not, I am working on something that takes it out of the hands of Spotify and other music players for playlists of music, podcasts, e-books and other media. Let's call it Project Aries for now.
  • The horrible nature of Spotify's "queue" is what kept me from using Spotify for as long as I did (in addition to the aggressive pushing for Facebook authentication). Their recommendation engine eventually won me over, though I still miss the ease of use of Rhapsody, which is what I migrated from.
  • This is the one and only thing that bugs me about Spotify. I have just learned that there is no add to queue feature and accepted it. I shouldn't have to, but I have.
  • I subscribe to both Spotify and Google Music and prefer Google Music's interface though neither is perfect. Playlist and queue management in general just sucks balls on Spotify. Their whole UI looks clean and yet from a functionality standpoint there's a lot of room for improvement.
  • The whole app needs some added features. With such a poor program on Android, it is amazing they still have customers. Guess they are not bothered about the issues with their app as they think their content is so good nobody will leave.