Why You Need Spotify’s ‘Sorting Hat’ for New Releases

Note: On August 3, 2019, Spotify Insights will be no more. But all the data stories you’ve come to enjoy will be available in Spotify’s newsroom, For The Record. Head over to the site not just for data insights, but also cultural trends, how-tos, artist interviews, and more. Want to stay on top of all our latest news and stories? Follow us on For The Record’s Twitter feed, @spotifynews.

Every week, music makers unleash thousands of new recordings on the world, most of which has yet to be reviewed, blogged about, analyzed, or even heard beyond their inner circle. If you’re excited by the freshest sounds the world has to offer, you’ve already found out how hard that is, especially if you’re looking for a particular kind of music. Named for the hat in the Harry Potter books and films, Spotify’s New Release Sorting Hat can help.

This “experimental attempt at an algorithmic organization of the week’s new releases,” as it’s described by creator and Spotify data alchemist Glenn McDonald, takes a fresh approach to the problem, with powerful implications for music fans who want to explore brand new music each week, delight their ears, and impress their friends by always seeming to be first to the party — in just about any genre.

To hear each week’s new releases sorted by genre, bookmark, share, and repeatedly visit Spotify’s New Release Sorting Hat, which updates each Friday (the new global release date) with the latest music to appear on the service.

The Spotify New Release Sorting Hat updates every Friday, and it looks like this:


Some pointers

  • Even using the power of Spotify New Release Sorting Hat, the volume of new releases each week can be overwhelming. Start by hunting down the genres you like from the left column, and listening to the new albums you’ll find there. You’ll see multiple genres grouped into clusters representing the music in that section.
  • The numbers next to the release titles refer to how many tracks are on the release, so you can tell if it’s a single, an EP, or a full-length album. If you only want to see the albums, click the “show only albums” link at the upper right of the page.
  • It would take you all week or longer to listen to all of the new releases, and nobody’s going to do that… but if you’re like most music fans these days, you’re attracted to more than one genre. Our advice is to take your time and click on many things.
  • This should probably go without saying, but save the music you like into your collection, so it’s easier to find next time.


Release dates and availability varies all over the world, and some music is only available in certain regions. Spotify’s New Release Sorting Hat is based on music that’s newly-available in the US on Spotify, so occasionally older releases that have just appeared on Spotify are included. The clustering and genre-labeling here are both done with a bias towards inclusion, and without detailed human oversight, especially farther down the list, so don’t be alarmed if things occasionally get weird, or if a band gets misfiled under a label that maybe belongs to some other band with the same name. Enjoy!