How to Filter Music on Spotify - dummies

How to Filter Music on Spotify

By Kim Gilmour

The filter is a cool tool that Spotify calls a “magical librarian” because it can find what you have on your shelf right away. Well, this is one library in which you’re allowed to crank up the music as loud as you want!

Don’t get the filter mixed up with your regular Search text box, though. The filter is used to sort through existing search results or any track listings (such as local files or playlists) that are currently displayed in the main pane. It works in real-time, filtering these often long and relentless lists by narrowing down results in an instant.

A Filter toolbar sits permanently at the top of your Library. Otherwise, you can bring one up by pressing Ctrl+F (Command+F on a Mac). Just start typing the name of what you’re looking for to make Spotify start narrowing down the list to only tracks that include those characters. Spotify looks at the track name, album, and artist when filtering the list.

Filter your Spotify Library

When you build up a load of playlists and throw your local files into the mix, you may be daunted by keeping track of them all. Fear not. The Filter can help keep you calm and organized.

To use the Filter, click Library in Spotify’s left sidebar to open a list of all the tracks in your playlists and local files in the main Spotify pane. The Filter toolbar is located at the top of this Library list.

For example, say that you want to view all the songs you have by British singer Adele. When you type ad into the Filter text box, Spotify instantly tells you that it found matches for 68 tracks from 28 artists on 29 albums. The results include Adele, as well as the tracks “Advert,” by Blur, and “Adelaide,” by Ben Folds.

If you search for ade, the Blur track disappears. When you enter the whole name, adele, you get results from Adele, and only Adele.

Filter your Spotify search results

The Filter toolbar is always available in your Library, but you have to bring it up elsewhere (such as when you’re doing a general Spotify search and want to narrow the results). To access the Filter outside of the Library, choose Edit→Filter or press the filter keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+F (Command+F on the Mac).

When you conduct a search, Spotify brings up a page of the most relevant results, and you may see what you’re looking for somewhere on the screen.

But if not, take note: Spotify may have found many more results; they just can’t all fit on the screen at the same time. When you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you may see a spinning circle icon and the words Fetching More Results.

After a few seconds, more tracks appear. Repeat the scroll-down process, and Spotify may well start looking for even more tracks. You can bring up the Filter either when you think you have enough results to sort through or when Spotify has delivered all the results it has.


This process sounds dull, but if you know what you’re searching for, Spotify always delivers the most relevant or popular results first, meaning you don’t have to keep scrolling down too far. Here, the search results near the end (for singer PJ Harvey) are full of karaoke versions and tribute bands.

If you wanted those kinds of results in the first place, you probably would have narrowed down the search earlier by including the word tribute or karaoke in the Search text box. Like a typical web search — the search engine could potentially find millions of results, but you’re probably interested in only the first page.