Alright, listen. It’s not for those of you with Dewey Decimal mental grading systems or expertly curated music playlists that easily identify the music in them. But hear me out: we need music browser tabs in our music player apps.
Unfortunately, I cannot take credit for this proposal — and extremely useful! — added to our music player interfaces. It was actually The edge‘s Deputy Editor Dan Seifert who first tweeted the idea, which I enthusiastically supported. We’re also not the only two nerds who thought this would be a handy feature. Wearables reviewer Victoria Song said she would also like a tab-like feature in her music players. (A good and correct opinion.)
i need browser tabs in my music player app to remember what i want to listen to once i am done listening to what i am currently listening to
— dan seifert (@dcseifert) February 4, 2022
One problem with modern music apps like Spotify and Apple Music is that they’re already shuffled from the get-go. As soon as you open one, you’re bombarded with promotional columns, “made for you” playlists you might not even use, new releases, and things you’ve recently listened to that you won’t want to. maybe never hear again. It’s that much harder to remember where you left off yesterday when you open the app.
Now, we’re not talking about tabs in a browser window here – that’s chaos. (Can you imagine having 15 Spotify tabs open in Chrome while trying to do the other 200 things you’re already juggling? Immediately not.) The tabs we offer would be built into the device’s apps themselves, which means that when you open Spotify on your computer, you can easily browse the music you wanted to listen to.
Before anyone tries to argue that it already exists with queues, it’s not the same thing. Adding a song or songs to a “Like” playlist is not the same as isolating a discography or an artist or even a single release. And with playlists, arguably the closest thing to a tabbed feature, they can get cluttered quickly without a pristine filing system. (Not to mention — who wants to make a playlist for a single song?) I have no idea what’s included in my own playlist called “Daily Mix 1” (something I must have saved from one of Spotify’s algorithmic playlists a long time ago) , just like the playlists I titled “Perfect” and “Good” have been gathering dust for, I guess, years.
As Dan points out, another problem with the queues argument is that they will play music in the order you add to them, whereas with tabs you would have the option to choose what you would like to listen when you are ready.
Which tabs would be particularly useful for discovering new music, like an album you wanted to hear but haven’t had the time yet. I’m having a hard time with this problem. Adding a new album to my “Like” songs on Spotify mixes it up with all my favorite stuff, and decluttering that playlist later is a hassle. Making a new album a playlist almost guarantees that it will be forgotten. My decrepit goldfish memory doesn’t have room to remember to go back to an album playlist two weeks later.
As my colleague Victoria notes, she “always forgets what I’m supposed to listen to next.” You know what would help with that? Tabs.