Play It Next, Sam. The Case for Better Queuing.

The story of Rdio is still making me think about “queues”; how much better they can be and how more useful they would be if so. A great queue implementation would be:

  • Synchronised across all the user’s devices.
  • Permanent (when you reopen the app tomorrow, it remains there)
  • Constant: a list of queued songs remains constant, no matter if you “create a station” (this kills Apple Music Queues), start playing another playlists (erases Tidal queues), starts playing a mix (erases Spotify queue) or enter flow mode (that’s for Deezer). 
  • “Undo” would be nice: Sometimes you accidentally forward a song, press shuffle, starts a song from the listening history (which is usually listed above the queue etc.) and it messes up the queue a bit or a lot. The undo button restores the queue just as it was before.
  • It could be “powerful”: play next, play at the end, add whole album, add whole playlist etc.
  • Why not the option to “save” the queue, “pause” it (the next songs will automatically be pulled from the playlist, algorithm, whatever) and “resume” it.
  • The “past” (listening history) should be presented as consistently as the “future”/queue.  (Apple Music iOS is going on this direction)
  • It would be nice to protect the “present” too: accidental mouse/keyboard clicks should not forward a song, or start playing any other song (at least as an option)
  • The queue feature should be “always” available (not the case in Apple Music stations for example)
  • The queue icon/indicator should always be easily visible and/or accessible.
  • Friends could make suggestions for your queue… (RIP iTunes DJ)
  • Maybe an “alternative queue” you can alternate to. (You can keep “focus” stuff there, or gym material etc.)
  • Even a “long queue” where you can add all suggestions from twitter, blogs and newsletters and selectively bring to “main queue”…

Seriously, how many hours do people spend listening to streaming music everyday? In how many sessions throughout the day? A strong queue functionality would be a great tool to help users in their daily routines. It would even help them to explore more different music and try other recommendations because they would have a better sense of control of their upcoming music and be less “hostages” of the particular listening context/mode they happen to be right now.

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