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Artists have a lot of clout at streaming music services, but Adele might have more power than most. BBC News reports Spotify has removed the shuffle button from all album pages after Adele pressed the company to make the change in sync with the launch of 30. Albums should be listened to "as [artists] intended" as they tell "a story," the singer explained in a follow-up on Twitter.
You can still shuffle an album using the controls for individual songs. This mainly adds an extra step and pushes you to choose a first track. Rivals like Apple Music still let you tap a "shuffle" button from an album page.
There's no question some albums are meant to be played in order, including 30. It weaves a narrative around an important time in Adele's life. However, critics have already raised concerns about removing a feature to please an artist. It's one thing to recommend playing albums a certain way, but it's another to take control away from listeners to dictate that order — and what about artists who are happy to allow shuffle play?
Spotify has an incentive to make changes like this, at least. Adele's lead single for 30, "Easy On Me," broke a single-day Spotify streaming record previously held by K-pop megagroup BTS. While Spotify hasn't outlined its rationale, the company probably isn't eager to antagonize one of its most important musicians and risk losing customers.
This was the only request I had in our ever changing industry! 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 🍷♥️ https://t.co/XWlykhqxAy
— Adele (@Adele) November 21, 2021