How do I perform advanced searches in Windows Media Player?

You can use search to find items in your Windows Media Player Library or in an online music service that match a specific set of criteria. Any resulting matches are displayed in the details pane. You can also access links to matches in specific Library categories by clicking the drop-down arrow of the search box.

If the Player is currently open and you’re in Now Playing mode, click the Switch to Library button Picture of the Switch to Library button in the upper-right corner of the Player.

The following examples illustrate advanced searches you can do within the search box in Windows Media Player:

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Find a specific song, album, or artist

To search for a specific song, album, or artist, type one or more words in the search box. For example, to find all song titles, album titles, and artist names that contain the word "Prince," type Prince in the search box.

Note that if you type a four-digit number by itself in the search box, the Player will search for songs and albums that were released in that year in addition to songs and album titles containing that number. To narrow the search results for a song or album title that contains a four-digit number, such as the Prince song "1999," include one or more additional words in your search query. For example, to find the Prince song "1999," type 1999 Prince in the search box.

Exclude items from a search

To exclude an item, use NOT or a hyphen (-). For example, type "Wilco" NOT "Sky Blue Sky" to view all songs by Wilco except those that are on the "Sky Blue Sky" album. Or, type -Rock to see all songs except those whose genre is Rock. Note that NOT must be typed in capital letters.

To search for an exact phrase, enclose it in quotes ("). For example, type "Easy Listening" to search for items that contain the entire phrase.

Combine a search

To combine a search, use OR. For example, to search for all songs by Neil Diamond or Barbra Streisand, type "Neil Diamond" OR "Barbra Streisand". Or, type Rock OR Jazz to find all songs whose genre is Rock or Jazz. Note that OR must be typed in capital letters.

Search using two attributes

To search on two attributes, use AND or a space. For example, type "Wilco" AND "Sky Blue Sky" to find only those songs by Wilco that are on the "Sky Blue Sky" album. Or, type Composer:Beethoven Conductor:"Gerard Schwartz" to find music that was composed by Beethoven and also had Gerard Schwartz as the conductor. Note that AND must be typed in capital letters.

Search using media information attributes

To restrict your search to a particular media information attribute, use the format Attribute:Item you are searching for. For example, type Genre:Rock to find songs whose genre is Rock. Or, type Composer:Beethoven to find all music that was composed by Beethoven. The following table shows the various examples of search words and how they are used.

To find Use this Example
To find

Album or CD title

Use this

Album:

Example

album:"Sky Blue Sky"

To find

Primary performing artist

Use this

AlbumArtist:

Example

albumartist:Wilco

To find

Primary or contributing artist

Use this

Artist:

Example

artist:Wilco

To find

Music composer

Use this

Composer:

Example

composer:"Jeff Tweedy"

To find

Orchestra conductor

Use this

Conductor:

Example

conductor:"Gerard Schwartz"

To find

Content provider

Use this

ContentProvider:

Example

contentprovider:StoreName

To find

Contributing artist

Use this

ContributingArtist:

Example

contributingartist:"Ray Charles"

To find

Genre

Use this

Genre:

Example

genre:rock

To find

Duration of the content in seconds

Use this

Length:

Example

length:245

To find

Is the content protected by media usage rights?

Use this

Protected:

Example

protected:<yes/no>

To find

Content ratings (including both user and provider ratings)

Use this

Rating:

Example

rating:4

To find

Item title

Use this

Title:

Example

title:"Either Way"

Note that search is not case sensitive, except when you are doing combined searches using NOT, OR, or AND. Also note there are no spaces between the search word, the colon, and the text you type in. Quotes are only needed for multi-word search phrases that are common in album titles and the full names of artists, and if you want to search for an exact phrase.

If you are in a Library category that does not use the search criteria you specify, such as searching for an artist name from within the Genre category, the Player will search all other categories in the Library and provide a list of any matches found in the details pane. You can also see any matches found by clicking the drop-down arrow of the search box.

To quickly clear the search box of previous search criteria, click the Clear Search button Picture of the Clear Search button.