How to Stop Spotify From Adding Songs to Your Playlists

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Do you ever feel like Spotify is trying to force songs into your meticulously crafted playlists? You‘re not alone. Many Spotify users get frustrated when unexpected tracks appear in their personal playlists.

But don‘t worry – you can take back control. In this comprehensive guide, you‘ll learn exactly why Spotify adds songs without your permission and how to stop it for good.

Why Does Spotify Add Songs to My Playlists?

Before we dig into solutions, let‘s first understand what‘s causing those pesky auto-added songs.

You Have the Free Version

One of the biggest reasons Spotify inserts tracks into your playlists is to entice you to upgrade. The free, ad-supported version comes with major limitations. One of the most annoying is Spotify‘s aggressive recommendations to convert you into a paying customer.

According to Spotify‘s 2022 Q3 earnings report, they now have 195 million premium subscribers globally. But a whopping 286 million users still use the free tier.

Spotify has strong incentives to convert free users to premium. So one tactic is bombarding unpaid listeners with songs they didn‘t pick in hopes they‘ll upgrade to stop the interruptions.

You Have Fewer than 15 Songs in Your Playlist

You may have noticed short playlists attract more unwanted recommendations. Spotify views skimpy playlists as opportunities to "help."

Their algorithm assumes any playlist with less than 15 tracks needs padding out. Once you pass 15 songs, Spotify gives you more freedom over your content.

Playlists like Discover Weekly and Release Radar are filled with suggestions curated just for you by Spotify. The whole point is music discovery based on your listening data.

You don‘t get to pick the tracks in these automatically generated playlists. So intrusive recommendations are expected when listening to your personalized Discover Weekly or Daily Mixes.

You Have "Autoplay" Turned On

Autoplay is another feature designed to keep you listening longer. When a playlist finishes, Autoplay uses your listening history to queue up recommended songs.

The never-ending stream of personalized recommendations is great for background listening. But it does mean Spotify selects tracks instead of you.

You Clicked the "Enhance" Button

If a playlist felt like it was missing something, you may have tapped "Enhance." This clever feature detects gaps in your playlist and fills them with suggested songs.

Enhance aims to improve flow and variety. But once activated, you‘ve given Spotify permission to sprinkle in recommendations.

Now let‘s get into how to stop this auto-adding madness and keep your playlists pure.

How to Stop Spotify from Adding Songs

Here are 8 ways to stop Spotify from tampering with your personal playlists on both desktop and mobile:

1. Upgrade to Premium

The nuclear option is upgrading to a paid Premium account. With Premium, Spotify lifts all restrictions, so you can enjoy ad-free listening and full control over your library.

Premium plans start at $9.99/month for individuals. For many users, the cost is worth it to gain unlimited skips and this level of curation freedom.

2. Disable Autoplay

Both desktop and mobile offer an Autoplay toggle in Settings you can switch off. This prevents Spotify from queueing up recommendations when playlists finish.

Desktop: Click the down arrow by your username > Settings > Uncheck "Autoplay"
Mobile: Tap the gear icon > Toggle "Autoplay" off

Disabling Autoplay also stops songs from continuing after you finish an album. So you remain in control of when the music starts and stops.

3. Pad Out Short Playlists

As mentioned, Spotify aggressively recommends on playlists with fewer than 15 tracks. The simple fix? Add more of your own songs.

Once you get above that 15-song minimum, Spotify eases up on the meddling. Treat 15 as the magic number for oversight-free playlists.

4. Delete Spotify‘s Added Tracks

When Spotify populates your playlist, the added songs appear under "Recommended Songs" or "Spotify Added" sections.

You can remove these interlopers track-by-track:

Desktop: Right-click the unwanted songs and choose "Remove from playlist."
Mobile: Tap the three dots next to the song > Remove from playlist

Be vigilant about pruning Spotify‘s auto-added tracks to maintain your curation vision.

5. Build Playlists in Private Session

Private Session minimizes the amount of listening data Spotify can collect and analyze. Less intel means fewer openings for recommendations.

When creating playlists, always start in Private Session:

Desktop: Click Home > Private Session
Mobile: Tap your profile icon > Toggle on Private Session

Then save them offline to further lock out Spotify‘s influence.

6. Turn Off "Enhance"

If a playlist has Enhance activated, toggle it off to halt any further suggestions. Disabling the Enhance button – if you can find it – instantly stops Spotify from "enhancing" that playlist.

7. Create a New Playlist from Scratch

Sometimes Spotify just can‘t let go of meddling with a playlist. When this happens, try rebuilding the playlist from the ground up:

  • Start a new Private Session
  • Name the playlist something completely different
  • Re-add your tracks in a different order
  • Download for offline listening

A clean slate in Private Session gives you the upper hand over Spotify‘s algorithms.

8. Set Playlists to Private

In addition to listening privately, you can also make playlists private. This limits which users can view it and reduces data Spotify collects.

Desktop: Right-click playlist > Set to Private
Mobile: Tap the three dots next to playlist > Make Private

The less Spotify knows, the fewer chances for unwanted recommendations.

Spotify Playlist Best Practices

Here are some bonus tips for crafting playlists that resist Spotify‘s meddling fingers:

  • Name playlists literally e.g. "30 Minutes of Piano Ballads." This helps Spotify understand the vibe so recommendations align better.

  • Add clear cover art that matches the genre/mood. Confuse Spotify by picking visuals that don‘t fit the music.

  • Include instrumental tracks to quickly pad out short playlists beyond 15 songs. Avoid lyrics since vocals provide more listener data.

  • Download for offline listening to prevent Spotify from accessing the playlist and adding songs.

  • Make it collaborative so others can add tracks and hit 15+ songs faster.

  • Listen on another platform like Apple Music that gives you full control over your library.

User Data and Playlists

Understanding Spotify‘s relationship with user data helps explain its pushy recommendations.

Spotify doesn‘t just make playlists for you. It also makes money by monetizing your listening habits. The more data it collects on you, the more targeted it can make its ads and suggestions.

Your top songs, favorite artists, and listening patterns all feed Spotify‘s recommendation engine. The platform analyzes this activity to serve you "personalized" playlists packed with sponsored tracks.

So aggressive recommendations equal more listener profiling. But for us as users, constant recommendations mostly undermine the joy of choosing our own music.

By suggested songs based on other users‘ habits, Spotify ignores the context around our listening. Maybe I just want to play video game soundtracks today, not my "Favorite Indie Folk" playlist.

But Spotify doesn‘t actually care about understanding our moods and moments. It mainly wants to glue eyeballs to the app via constant recommendations.

Take Back Control of Your Listening Experience

At the end of the day, excessive recommendations benefit Spotify‘s data collection and premium conversion efforts – not us as listeners.

But the platform does offer tools to minimize intrusive suggestions if you know where to look (and pay).

So be vigilant about pruning Spotify‘s auto-added tracks from your playlists. Follow the steps above to protect your playlists and enjoy music on your own terms.

Spotify may think it knows better than you do. But remember: only you really understand the soundtrack you need in any moment. So take back control and relish the power to choose your own musical adventure.


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.