Zune Software Shuffle – Not Random At All?


I’m almost positive that I’m not crazy here…well, I think so at least.  During the day here at work, I listen to music if I’m doing something on my computer by myself in my office, I’m usually listening to music.  Since I got a Zune, I’ve been using the Zune client software to listen to random playlists at work.  I’m a picky person about music, so I’m a pretty heavy user of the “next track” button.  I’ve noticed a very strange behavior when I use the “next track” button alot–the software will start playing the exact same songs I just skipped…in the same order.  In true bug-reporting style, here are the repro steps:



  1. Play a large playlist in the Zune client app (mine’s nearly 1,700 songs).

  2. Listen to a few songs, then get fed up because you really don’t want to listen to anymore Beatles today.

  3. Hit the “Next Track” button a few times until you find a suitable song, like Ben Folds Five’s “Philosophy”.

  4. Listen to the song, and then notice that the app is trying to play the Beatles again!

  5. Hit “Next Track” over and over again, and notice that the software even plays “Philosophy” again before it starts suggesting new songs.

Am I the only one that’s seeing this?  Anybody?!

Comments (5)

  1. Mike says:

    I don’t have a Zune yet and haven’t used one before, but I have noticed similar behavior with the random in windows media player.  Since both are Microsoft products, they may you the same or similar methods to randomize songs.  I had about 100 hrs of songs on my PC, and the same thing was happening to me.  I am not sure if it does that with the latest media player, but the 2 versions before this version did.

  2. Matthew Manela says:

    That funny, I just had the same thing also happen to me in Windows Media Player 11.  I began to play my whole music collection on shuffle which is about 2,000 songs.  It was all working fine and I heard a sequence of songs and then the whole sequence repeated.  I kept hitting next and the same sequence kept repeating.  I had to stop playback, readd all the songs and choose shuffle again and I was able to get it to work better .  But yeah it is very odd.  I wonder what the alogirthm they use for shuffle is?

  3. Mark, communities manager says:

    I remember the iPod shuffle was plagued by similar concerns. See:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6854309/site/newsweek/

    or

    http://ask.metafilter.com/23813/Is-an-ipod-on-shuffle-truly-random

  4. MSDNArchive says:

    I actually remember reading about the shuffle problem.  I read Mr. Levy’s book about the iPod, and he devotes an entire chapter to the random problem.

    This is much, much worse though–it actually plays the same songs in the same order.  

  5. Bleh says:

    I think you’ll find that they both shuffle with the star ratings highest to lowest. ie it will randomize all the 5 star tracks, then  

    all the 4 star then 3 star etc. It’s really annoying when you have unrated tracks that you never hear on random.