API Upgrade - Genre Radio and Genre Search

December 21, 2012

We’ve just pushed out a new API feature allowing you to easily create smart playlists based on genre.  With this feature, you can choose from one of the nearly 500 supported genres (from Acid House to Zydeco) and use it to create a playlist using our playlisting API.  

To show off this feature, we’ve created a playlist demo that will create a Genre Radio Spotify playlist  for any genre.


To create a Genre Radio playlist with the Playlisting API, set the playlist type to ‘genre-radio’ and set the genre parameter to the seed genre. Here’s an example call:


Genre Search
In addition to the playlist API, you can also search for artists by genre.  For example, if you want to find Icelandic Pop artists you can make an artist search query like so:


This will yield a list of Icelandic Pop artists like:

"artists": [
   "name": "Of Monsters and Men",
   "id": "ARJLJNQ131B421B438"
   "name": "Sigur Rós",
   "id": "AR76V4B1187B9B44EC"
   "name": "Björk",
   "id": "ARAOQ5T1187FB435AB"
   "name": "múm",
   "id": "ARP7AOI1187FB518B4"
// ..

To retrieve the list of supported genres, use the ‘list_genres’ method like so:


Genres vs. Terms

We’ve long supported search and playlisting using artist terms. And in some ways, our new support for genre is very similar to our support for artist terms. You can search for artists by genre, as you can with terms and you can seed playlists by genre as you can with terms.  The primary difference between terms and genre is that artist terms are from an unrestricted vocabulary, whereas genre is from a restricted and curated set of genres.   When you create a genre radio playlist you will likely get a playlist that is more relevant to your genre.  However, if you wanted to create a ‘big hair’ playlist, your best option, since ‘big hair’ is not a supported genre is to create an 'artist-description' playlist that is seed the unrestricted term ‘big hair’.

Today’s API release that allows for genre search and playlisting, is our first foray into using curated genre as a way of improving the listening experience.  We will be releasing more genre-related features in the upcoming months, so stay tuned!