How to Use Spotify's Advanced Music Search Options

Find the exact music you're looking for with these time-saving tips

The Spotify website and desktop client have a handy set of search options. These advanced controls are typed into the search box and find the exact music you're looking for. For example, you can see the music in the Spotify library released in a particular year or list the songs an artist released in a given year. Rather than having Spotify display a long or irrelevant list of results, follow these tips to save time on your preferred music streaming service.

Important Syntax Rules

Before you type commands into Spotify's search box, it's useful to know these syntax rules:

  • Quotes must surround any search term that has a space. For example, the command "ambient pop" would search for the Ambient Pop genre.
  • When using Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT), type in uppercase or Spotify will think you're searching for those words.
  • The default search parameter is AND, meaning that if you typed Swift Dragons, you'd find everything that includes both the words Swift and Dragons.
  • Type + or - instead of AND or NOT, such as -swift, to avoid all mentions of the word "swift."
Spotify Advanced Music Search

How to Filter by Year to Create Retro Playlists

This is a useful command if you want to search all the music in Spotify's music library for a particular year or even a range of years (like an entire decade). This is also a great retro search tool for compiling music playlists from the 50s, 60s, 70s, and more.


How to Search for an Artist on Spotify

A more useful way to search for artists is to use this command because you can use extra Boolean operators to filter out unwanted results like collaborations with other artists or artists with similar names. You can even look for specific collaborations only.

artist:"michael jackson"

Search by Track or Album

To filter out unnecessary results when finding music, you can specify a track or album name to search for.

track:"invaders must die"

How to Find Better Music With the Genre Filter

One way you can use the advanced search commands in Spotify is to use the Genre command to search for artists and bands that fit the style you're looking for.


How to Combine Commands for Better Search Results

To increase the effectiveness of the above commands, combine them to make your searches more powerful. For instance, maybe you want to find all the songs that an artist released in a particular year or search for a series of albums by several artists covering a certain period of time.

artist:"michael jackson" year:1982

If you use Spotify in a web browser and want to return to that exact search in the future to check for new songs, copy the URL to that page to re-insert the same search options the next time you open the URL.

Other Ways to Search Spotify

There are other advanced searching methods you can use to find specific songs. Spotify has a list of all the supported search options on the Wayback Machine.

Some examples of what you'll find there include a tag:new parameter to find recently added albums on Spotify, and label to find music released by a specific record label.

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