5 top tips for Spotify's social makeover

So, Spotify: The Next Generation is with us, and suddenly your Facebook news feed is full of playlists, song "likes" and people declaring their undying love for McFly. You want to get in on the action, so you've been to the Spotify website's download page and grabbed the new installer. While you watch the progress bar tick along, here's five tips for getting the most out of the new features.

Add people who aren't your Facebook friends

While you might not want to become full-on Facebook friends with everyone you know, you might still want to share music with them. Thankfully, Spotify doesn't demand that you allow people to poke you before you can send them a track or two.

To add a person who you don't want to befriend or who isn't using Facebook, get their Spotify username (the one they use to log in with) and type into the search bar: "spotify:user:username", where "username" is replaced with the person's name that you want to add. You'll be taken to their profile, and then you can just click add.

Filter your library with Ctrl-F

Searching through your MP3 library using your computer's search tools is a pain. It's slow, cumbersome and irritating. When those files are on a network drive, it's even slower. Thankfully, Spotify has built in a search tool that's as quick and effective as search tool Everything.

To use it, hit Ctrl-F on any list of songs and a bar will pop down that lets you filter by a string of text. It'll update as you type new characters, and searches every field - track title, artist and album. Similarly, the main search box has been updated to include your MP3 library too - any local results will show up at the top of your regular results.

Avoid Gracenote like the plague

Because Spotify now imports your MP3 library, the company had to offer a solution to the problem of badly tagged MP3s that don't match up with the correct listings for artist, track name and album title. Gracenote has been roped in to fix this issue, and Spotify now offers the option to correct your MP3s automatically.

For the love of everything that is good in this world, don't click it. It'll just as happily attack the songs that have been correctly tagged, and automatically make all your carefully arranged metadata wrong. Worse, while there's an undo option, it only works on songs that it's altered - you can't select all your library and undo. This needs fixing, urgently. Until then, if you have any semblance of order in your MP3 library, then don't use Gracenote in Spotify.

Turn off the Facebook spamming

If you're anything like us, you'll not be a huge fan of the way that Spotify automatically tells everyone on Facebook every time you add a new playlist. If nothing else, it's spammy for everyone that you know. So turn it off.

How? Well, in the top right corner of your friends list, there's a little icon of a gear. Click that, and you can opt to "disable posting to Facebook". It's that easy. No need to de-link your account, or you'll lose all your Facebook friends that you want to share songs with. From that list you can also hide the friends list when you don't want to see it.

Block people who dump terrible songs in your inbox

There's always one, isn't there? One person who thinks it'll be HILARIOUS to drop 200 covers of "Poker Face" in your inbox. As a consequence of the way that Spotify automatically adds anyone who adds you, you might find yourself wanting to block certain people from adding tracks to your inbox.

It's easy to do - right-click the person in question, then just hit "Block From Inbox" and they won't be able to crap all over your beautiful suggestions list any more. You've also got the option to remove them from your list, if things are getting a little crowded in that right column.

Conclusions

Those are our five top tips for enjoying the most recent Spotify update to its fullest. Have you discovered any nifty tricks in the new update? Share them in the comments box below.