What do you do for an encore after releasing one of the most eagerly-awaited albums of 2021? If you’re Adele, you follow that up with convincing a streaming powerhouse to change one aspect of how their service works. As Robyn Vinter reported at The Guardian, Spotify altered its functionality when it comes to playing artists’ albums. Whereas before, a user would have the option to select a shuffle mode and go through the album’s songs at random, this has since been disabled.
As The Verge’s Emma Roth pointed out, Spotify users can still head into shuffle mode — but it’s at the track level rather than at the album level. With the release of her new album 30, Adele has bee adamant about the album being designed to flow in a certain order.
“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,” she said on Twitter.
It’s worth mentioning that shuffle functionality did not begin with Spotify — it really took off with the advent of CD players, and became even more of a thing with the rise of iTunes and the iPod. (It’s not for nothing that the smallest version of the iPod was named the Shuffle.) For obvious reasons, the LP and cassette formats don’t really lend themselves to a kind of shuffle mode nearly as well.
That Adele is using her platform to advocate for the artists’s intentions being paramount is a welcome move. We’re currently at a point where some artists might embrace the full-length format while others prefer to release individual songs out into the world. It’s a big world, and there should be room for whatever an artist’s preferred method of playback happens to be.
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