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Collaborating on Group Playlists with Spotify

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Spotify, the hot new streaming music service, lets you create collaborative playlists: lists of tracks that you and selected friends can both edit and listen to. In this article, Sams Teach Yourself Spotify in 10 Minutes author Michael Miller shows you how to create these group playlists and collaborate on them with your online friends.
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Many music lovers like to create playlists of their favorite tracks, to listen to on their own or share with others. Spotify goes one step further and lets you create collaborative playlists that you not only share with your friends, but that your friends can also contribute to and edit.

Collaborative playlists let multiple music lovers team up to share their musical likes and dislikes. It turns music curation into a team sport and helps you build better playlists with the musical knowledge of others.

Understanding Collaborative Playlists

As you're probably aware, a playlist is a collection of tracks grouped together for easy playback. You can create playlists around any topic you think of or just put together a bunch of songs of any type that you like.

A Spotify playlist can include up to 10,000 individual tracks. Playlists can include tracks from multiple artists and albums or can be constructed from tracks from a single artist.

Once you create a playlist, it is listed in the Collection section of the Spotify navigation pane. You can easily play back an entire playlist, either in the track order listed or in random order, by shuffling the tracks. And, of course, you can configure any given playlist as a collaborative playlist that your friends can also edit.

You can turn any of your playlists into a collaborative playlist. Whenever a playlist is marked as collaborative, the music note icon to the left of the playlist name turns green, with a little dot to the left.

Figure 1 A green collaborative playlist

When a playlist is collaborative, any friends you share it with can add or delete tracks from the playlist in real time. Naturally, they can also listen to it whenever they want.

Why might you want to create a collaborative playlist? There are lots of reasons, including the following scenarios:

  • You're creating a playlist for a big event and want input from several people who'll be attending.
  • You and a group of friends want to put together a playlist that reflects your collective listening habits at this point in time.
  • You and your spouse or significant other want to create a playlist to listen to jointly while you're traveling together.
  • You like and trust the musical taste of your friends, and want them to help broaden your own listening choices.

In each of these instances, you can create a collaborative playlist that your friends and family can help shape. You get their input—and a great new playlist you all can listen to.

Spotify lets you collaborate with more than one person per playlist, too. Remember, though, that anyone you share a collaborative playlist with can alter the playlist and invite others to collaborate, as well. For this reason, you should be careful about whom you share your playlists with; you don't want a less-compatible "friend" to delete all your favorite tracks!

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