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Why And How To Fix Spotify Can’t Play This Right Now

Spotify has become one of the most popular music streaming services, offering users access to vast libraries of songs for a monthly subscription fee. However, despite its advantages, Spotify users frequently encounter frustrating errors that prevent songs from playing. The ambiguous “Spotify can’t play this right now” message often appears unexpectedly, interrupting listening sessions.

This error prompts the questions – why does this happen, and how can it be fixed? There are several potential causes behind this Spotify playback failure, ranging from regional restrictions to local data issues. By understanding the origins of this error message, users can troubleshoot problems and get their Spotify working smoothly again.

Why Spotify Can’t Play Songs

Copyright Restrictions Based on Location

One of the most common reasons Spotify cannot play certain tracks is licensing restrictions based on the listener’s location. Record labels and artists limit where songs can be streamed, so tracks available in some countries are blocked in others. Trying to play a geo-restricted song prompts the “can’t play this” message, regardless of subscription status.

For example, a user in the United States might import an obscure foreign song from their local files into their Spotify library. While it plays fine for them, sharing it with a friend in Canada or Australia won’t work – those regions are unauthorized to stream it. Similarly, VPN users trying to access country-exclusive content can have songs blocked despite appearing in search results.

Licensing issues like this lead to playlist and library inconsistencies across borders. Unless Spotify secures worldwide streaming rights, region-locked songs will remain restricted. Users receive no warning about this until attempting playback.

Limits for Free Users

Spotify Free users face additional restrictions that trigger playback failures. The free advertising-supported tier caps individual track plays at five times per account. After six months of inactivity, the counter resets. Exceeding this limit prompts the “Spotify can’t play this” notice.

This limitation exists to encourage paid subscriptions and reduce royalty costs. Though irritating, disabling song repeating and upgrading to Premium both avoid triggering it. However, even Premium subscribers may encounter it when playing local files past the five-play mark. Additionally, Free users cannot manually play specific tracks on-demand – Spotify curates shuffled playlists.

Local File Technical Issues

Playback failures frequently occur when Spotify attempts accessing locally-stored music. Syncing problems between the app and files trigger cryptic errors, including “Spotify can’t find this file” or “Spotify local files not showing.”

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Several technical issues cause this behavior:

  • Cache Buildup: Over time, the offline cache storing local file data can become bloated and unstable. Periodically deleting this cached content often fixes local playback problems.
  • Hardware Changes: Altering drive locations, upgrading storage devices, or moving files breaks the app’s established pathing to them. Spotify consequently fails finding relocated music.
  • File Corruption: Damaged or improperly formatted local files confuse the app, inhibiting playback. Removing and re-importing usually resolves this.
  • Storage Limits: Local content requires available hard drive space. Nearing capacity leads playback failures for offline synced content.

Generally, directly interfacing Spotify with local libraries increases the likelihood of technical conflicts. Streaming cloud content avoids most file-related errors that disrupt local playback.

Account and App Problems

Issues with the Spotify app itself sometimes trigger playback failures. Glitches in the app’s coding and mechanics manifest as “can’t play” errors randomly across songs and playlists. Resetting app components to defaults typically resolves them.

Specifically, the following app and account factors often contribute to playback issues:

  • Software Bugs: Like any complex program, coding flaws, memory leaks, and corrupted data in the app itself can sometimes affect playback.
  • Hardware Acceleration: Graphics card processes helping Spotify visually render can clash with audio components and inhibit sound.
  • Crossfade Bug: Overlapping transition effects between songs sometimes fail, disrupting playback.
  • High-Quality Streaming: Bandwidth-intensive lossless streaming can stall on slow connections.
  • Syncing Errors: Flaws syncing account data across devices leads to conflicts between playlists, libraries, and streaming caches.
  • Bad Settings: Adjustments to bandwidth caps, hard drive locations, and graphic configurations in Settings sometimes backfire.
  • Web Player Errors: Functional problems with Spotify’s web player platform can prevent songs playing through a browser.

Though frustrating, app issues tend to produce the most intermittent playback failures. They lack consistent reproduction, making targeted troubleshooting difficult. Still, actions like resetting the app, toggling settings, or re-installing can resolve elusive technical glitches.

Fixing Spotify Playback – Potential Solutions

With so many potential sources of “Spotify can’t play this” errors, fixing them involves isolating where problems originate and applying tailored solutions. Though causes vary, users can take several actions to get Spotify working properly again.

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Restarting and Re-logging

Before delving into complex troubleshooting, a simple restart and relog often fixes playback interruptions. Spotify’s codes and processes reset, clearing any minor glitches. To do this, completely log out of the desktop app, force quit it, then launch and log in again. This quick refresh solves many transient issues, especially those stemming from account syncing.

Check Region Restrictions

Users consistently encountering playback failures on specific songs should check if geo-blocking causes them. Using a VPN connection often reveals if region locks are the culprit. Songs working abroad but not locally indicate licensing territory restrictions at play. Unfortunately Spotify offers no official tool for checking song availability by country. Users must use trial and error with VPNs to identify blocked tracks.

Clear Local Cache

When local files won’t play correctly, clearing the local offline cache gives Spotify a fresh start indexing them. Note the app’s offline cache location under Settings > Local Files, then delete all contents within while Spotify is closed. This forces it to rebuild the data from your library when relaunched, often fixing glitched pathways to local content. Expect initial re-indexing to take time before testing playback again.

Adjust Hardware Acceleration

Switching off Spotify’s GPU hardware acceleration option prevents graphic card processes from interfering with audio delivery. Under Edit > Preferences > Advanced Settings, toggle Hardware Acceleration to off, then restart Spotify. This simple adjustment stops rendering activity from disrupting playback. However, expect some decline in UI smoothness.

Delete Problematic Local Files

With consistent issues playing specific local files, removing and re-adding them forces Spotify to generate fresh file associations. Corrupt files refused playback won’t get indexed again. Check library folders to ensure enough drive space exists before re-importing removed tracks through Settings > Local Files. Let Spotify fully complete any indexing before testing problem songs again.

Change Streaming Quality

On bandwidth-constrained connections, lowering Spotify’s streaming bitrate often allows initially blocked songs to play. Under Settings > Audio Quality, try a lower option like Normal or Low. This lightens network demands, reducing strains during streaming. However, sound quality suffers as a trade-off.

Toggle Crossfade

Brief stutters when transitioning between tracks may come from problematic crossfade effects. Under Settings > Playback, toggle Crossfade on and off with several restarts between adjustments. Test problem playlists after each change. Crossfade inconsistencies frequently disrupt playback at track boundaries.

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Try Spotify Web Player

When desktop applications face technical problems, testing Spotify through a web browser provides isolation. Sometimes web playback succeeds when the native apps fail. Use the Spotify web player at open.spotify.com on both desktop and mobile to check. This pinpoints app-specific issues versus general account problems.

Re-install Spotify

If no other solutions fix persistent playback failures, completely uninstalling and re-downloading the Spotify application often will. Corrupt installation files or accumulated data bugs can make error fixes ineffective in the current app. Backup any playlists and settings, uninstall Spotify, delete all associated folders, then install a fresh copy. This wiped app state has the best chance of resolving stubborn playback issues.

Contact Spotify Support

After exhausting all troubleshooting steps, users should contact official Spotify Support through the mobile or desktop app. The built-in contact form submits key account diagnostics alongside user descriptions of problems. Support staff can then investigate backend factors like account restrictions, domain inconsistencies, and other service-side issues that may cause playback failures. Though responses take time, Spotify can resolve problems stemming from their end.

Preventing Playback Errors

While troubleshooting solutions treat current “Spotify can’t play this” errors, certain preventative measures minimize future occurrences. Setting up Spotify optimally avoids situations prompting playback failures.

Use Premium Subscription

The Premium service’s unlimited, on-demand playback prevent free account restrictions from interrupting playback. Upgrading removes capped listening quotas and unlocks all geographic content. Premium users get priority bandwidth for reliable streaming. Though pricier, a paid subscription provides the most seamless listening experience.

Avoid Extreme Quality Settings

Straining connectivity with excessive quality settings often hampers streaming. On mobile devices, restrict quality to Medium or Low over cell data – High drains data quickly. Similarly on desktop, avoid extreme streaming bitrates exceeding connection speeds. Optimize audio quality for reliable playback over max settings that destabilize streaming.

Clear Cache Regularly

Routinely emptying the Spotify application cache helps prevent bloated data interfering with playback. Under Edit > Preferences > Local Files, click Clear Cache every few weeks to purge buggy temporary content. This prevents storage issues over time

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