How Spotify Works

Tips and Tricks for Spotify Fun

screen capture of multiple versions of the song "Firework"
To locate different versions of the same song (like Katy Perry's "Firework" shown here), all you have to do is click the arrow.
Screenshot by

Spotify has so many features (and so many songs) that it's easy to get lost amid this mountain of digital music. But there are a few tips that will help you listen with less frustration.

Spotify's search engine sometimes requires a bit of extra work on your part. The search feature isn't as flexible and forgiving as, say, Google, so if you misspell part of a song or band name, you may not see any results. Even an extra space between letters can totally throw off the system, so double-check your verbiage if your results list is empty.


On the other hand, type in a popular band or song, and you may be overwhelmed by the number of entries you see. Click the top menu bar to sort by song, album, artist, song length or popularity, and then press the PGUP or PGDN keys to move quickly through results (this is much faster than scrolling).

There are other pertinent keyboard shortcuts, too. Press the spacebar to pause or start playback. Press CTRL and the up or down arrows to control volume.

Note that Spotify's huge library often pulls up multiple versions of the same song, but it hides them. Look just to the right of the song title and you may see a small arrow. Click that arrow to reveal the other versions.

Spotify is so popular that it has spawned a plethora of related sites and apps. For starters, because Spotify's "Artist Radio" (which is a bit like Pandora) is only rolling out to Spotify users incrementally, you can get a preference-based experience by opening Spotify and visiting a third-party (not sponsored by Spotify) application. Examples include, and Spotiseek, all of which play artists similar to your favorites.

Another site,, offers a way to discover critically-acclaimed music. Just as with popular, Spotimy scans aggregated reviews all over the Web and highlights artists with high scores. You can then select and play those albums instantly.

Like all other music services, Spotify has both strengths and weaknesses, and depending on your tastes in music (and technology), it may (or may not) offer everything you need. The best way to find out is to dive in and test drive Spotify's massive music collection.

Related Articles

More Great Links


  • Albanesius, Chloe. "Spotify Sued for Patent Infringement." July 28, 2011.,2817,2389362,00.asp
  • Check, Dan. "Spotify vs. Girl Talk: What is Spotify Music Catalog Missing?" July 22, 2010.
  • Gordon, Whitson. "How to Discover Music in the Post-MP3 Age." Aug. 23, 2011.
  • Kincaid, Jason. "Behind the Scenes: Making Spotify More Convenient Than Piracy." May 30, 2011.
  • Kreitz, Gunnar and Fredrik Niemela. "Spotify – Large Scale, Low Latency, P2P Music-on-Demand Streaming."
  • Lendino, Jamie and Jeffery L. Wilson. "Spotify." July 14, 2011.,2817,2366868,00.asp
  • Manjoo, Farhad. "The World's Greatest Music Service." July 16, 2009.
  • Shankland, Steven. "Spotify: Five CNET Editors, Five Thumbs Up." July 14, 2011.
  • Siegel, J.V. "Spotify: Bigger and Better than iTunes." Sept. 12, 2011.
  • Solon, Oliva. "Spotify Finally Launches in the U.S." July, 14, 2011.
  • Spotify Homepage. "Spotify Features."
  • Wilson, Jeffery L. "Best Streaming Music Services 2011." Aug. 2, 2011.,2817,2380776,00.asp
  • Wolverton, Troy. "For Me, Spotify Doesn't Hit the Spot." Sept. 12, 2011.