Spotify hides shuffle button on all albums at the request of Adele

Image: Steven Meisel / Vogue

Spotify has hidden the shuffle button from users when playing albums. This comes after pop superstar Adele publicly requested that the streaming platform stop making the shuffle feature the default play setting when users access albums to listen to. The singer Tweeted: “We don’t create albums with so much care and thought into our track listing for no reason… our art tells a story and our stories should be listened to as we intended. Thank you Spotify for listening.”

Adele released her fifth studio album 30 last week to widespread acclaim, and insists the album be listened to in order. Similarly in 2020, Lady Gaga stressed that listeners should listen to her album Chromatica in order from start to finish. There has been much debate over the years about the shuffle option has impacted the way artists create albums, with some even suggesting that this and other features on streaming services has led to the ‘death of the album’. Furthermore, Spotify’s reliance on company curated playlists to market songs to audiences have pushed artists to create music in accordance to what might get added to a specific mood or genre playlist to try to get more shares and streams. And in an age where record low royalty fees are being paid to artists by services like Spotify and Apple Music, it may seem more lucrative for artists to release singles that could be picked up by one of Spotify’s playlists.

Adele’s request to Spotify, while not only demonstrating the immense influence she as an artist has on the industry as a whole, is an important reminder that the art of the album has not been lost. Users will now have to open a menu and select the shuffle feature when listening to an album. This applies to all albums on the streaming service, while the shuffle feature remains the same for playlists.