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How To Find a Music Video Without Knowing the Name

Posted by Robert Hayes on August 28, 2019

It’s a situation so frustrating that we’ve all experienced it at one time or another. You want to see a music video of that song you love…the one with that lyric about the girl and the guy…but you can’t remember the name of the song! You’re about to tear your hair out trying to remember what it’s called! If you had a recording of the song, even if you didn’t know its name, you could use an app like Shazam, a popular tool which lets you identify a song by playing it, or a similar app. But if you’re trying to find a music video, and you don’t have the song to play and you can’t remember its name, it seems like you’re out of luck!

Have no fear, because help is on the way. All you need is Google and this article. In this article I’m going to show you how to use special search engine operators to find that music video – and it’s also going to greatly expand your understanding of how Google (and other search engines) do things, and make all your searches much more powerful.

Step one: identify what you know

The first step in narrowing down your search is to establish what it is that you DO know. Do you know the name of the artist? Do you know the genre of music the song falls under? Do you know when the song first came out? Most critically, do you know any of the lyrics? If you know any of these things—even if you can only remember a few words of the song—you’re in a much better position to find it online.

You have two choices for conducting your search: one is to do a direct search on YouTube, and the other is to try to establish which song it is you’re looking for on Google, and then switching to YouTube to do a simple search once you figure it out. Since YouTube’s search engine runs entirely on Google, these amount to the same thing. However, I do recommend doing the search on Google because it will be easier to find information about the song rather than just the song; for difficult searches, this can get you partway to the final answer.

Step two: try some basic searches

Your next step is to go to your search engine, whether YouTube or Google, and start trying some basic searches. For this article, I’m going to walk you through a sample search. Let’s say that the song we’re looking for is “You Give Love A Bad Name” by Bon Jovi, but we don’t remember either the title or the artist. In fact, we only remember one phrase from the song: it has the words “an angel’s smile”. Let’s go to Google and type in “an angel’s smile” in the search box and see what we get.

Hey hey! Look at that, there’s three songs with that title right at the top of the listings, along with (yikes) 203 million other hits. OK, this will be easy to check—hit those links and see if they’re our song!

Alas, we checked all three and none of these songs—though they contain our lyric—are the song we’re looking for. We could go through the next few pages of Google results, but clearly “an angel’s smile” matches too many songs. We’re going to have to dig deeper.

Step three: Combine your terms

By combining terms, you can tell Google that you have several related concepts that you want it to consider when you do your search. The combine operator is the comma, the “,” character. For example, a search on “green tomato recipes mississippi cookbook” will bring up about 921,000 results, each of which will have some or all of those keywords. If you enclose the whole search string in quotes, Google will give you only those results which have that exact string (zero, if you’re wondering). However, if you use “,” to combine your concepts, you can get a list of results that has connections to all three sets of concepts. Searching for “green tomato recipes, mississippi, cookbook” tells Google more exactly what you’re looking for and gets you better results.

In our search for the angel’s smile song, let’s add some combined keywords that might help Google out. You know that the song you’re looking for is rock and roll. And you think it probably came out in the 1980s because you remember your dad singing it in the car all the time back then. Let’s add those keywords, and do a search on “an angel’s smile, rock and roll, 1980s”.

And bam, there we go! It’s the first search result. Telling Google the general time period and the genre really let it focus in on what we’re looking for. (You can leave the comma out and Google will do a pretty good job of guessing which words go with which other words, but it’s better to use the comma and break it out explicitly.)

Step four: other operators, keywords, and techniques

The combine operator isn’t the only powerful tool you can utilize.

Advanced YouTube search

As YouTube is owned by Google, there are some advanced search operators you can use to find what you’re looking for. Here are just a few.

BAND or ARTIST, partner – Type the band or artist name and then partner to restrict the search to official videos and filter out fan videos.

ACTOR, movie – Type the actor’s name and movie to see clips, teasers, and even full movies on YouTube.

News, live – Type news, gaming, or whatever else you’re interested in, and then live to show live feeds of the subject in question.

SUBJECT, today – Type a subject, movie, actor, or whatever and then a time to filter by. For example, ‘Politics, this week’ might give a slightly more varied amount of footage than what you’ll find on the television, especially if anyone in your household is prone to only relying on one network.

SUBJECT, HD or 4K – Type a subject and then format to filter out non-HD or non-4K content. This works for 3D and will work for VR or 360 content, too.

ARTIST, playlist – Type the artist and then playlist to compile or find an existing playlist for that artist. You can save or copy them if you plan on using them often.

Advanced Google search

Search operators allow you to refine your search to specifics and narrow down the results. They are surprisingly powerful when used correctly. Here are a few of them.

    • Search a hashtag: #videosfromthe90s.
    • Exclude words: Add a ‘-‘, so ‘-female vocalists’ to filter out music videos with female singers.
    • Exact match only: Use speech marks, “You give love a bad name” to specify those words only in search.
    • Missing words/Wildcard: Add ‘*’ to search for wildcard, For example ‘The best * of all time’.
    • OR:Use OR to apply multiple filtersHairspray rock OR male singer OR band OR guitar OR give love a bad name’.
    • AND: Use AND to tell Google to include things that match your whole list. “Bon Jovi AND angel’s smile AND 1980s”
    • Group: use parentheses to group operators. “(1980s AND Bon Jovi) angel’s smile”
    • Use relations: Use ‘related’ to find supplemental information, ‘related: Bon Jovi’.

You should definitely be able to find a music video without knowing the name with those!

Got any other ways to identify a music video without knowing the name? Any apps or services that can do it? Tell us about them below of you do!

Like music? We’ve got a lot of great articles and tutorials to help you on your musical journey!

Check out our review of the best music player for Windows.

Here’s how to listen to music on YouTube without playing the video.

Take those YouTube videos with you by converting YouTube videos to MP3.

Tired of autoplaying video? Learn how to shut down autoplay in your browser.

Want to make music? Here’s some great free software for making music on PC or Mac.

21 thoughts on “How To Find a Music Video Without Knowing the Name”

Faye says:
Does anyone know the title of the music video where a guy is in love with a girl and while riding his bike he got hit and almost dies but the girl with powers saves him and they kissed at the end
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Tania says:
A video about a girl crashing a phone
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Pili says:
I’m looking for a music video which was released around 2014-2015, it was in lots of vevo ads. The music video was about a blonde woman in red clothes who was walking and doing strange and funny things around the city. She finally got arrested but she ended up kissing the policewoman. The song had some kind of a whistle and the chorus was something like “we got love”. The artist had another MV in which she was a pilot.
I remember that this video was kind of annoying, and most of people hated it because in lots of vevo ads all the time. Thanks!
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Lollo says:
Hello guys
I’ve been looking for years, in vain: video seen on “mtv: brand new”, I don’t remember either the title or the singer, I only remember the music video.
A sort of woman-robot, with no nose and bolts on the sides of the head, yellowish color, inside a hospital-like room with two guys in lab coats that occasionally go inside. I remember occasionally seeing the transition of horses to a schooner on a prairie with the robot woman singing.
Protip: no, it’s not Rick Astley
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Riri says:
Hey guys! please help me find this music video. I’m desperately trying to find it. A girl and a boy are sitting in the cafe, at the table near the window. They kiss each other, this moment is very slow and the moment their lips touch it’s like diving in the ocean. its about the feeling of the first kiss that is like diving in the ocean.
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angel says:
Help me find this song . I don’t remember it but heres a sdiscription of the music video.

It was on youtube and was about a couple. The guy would give flowers to the girl. It started when they were just kids and the boy gave her a flower and then went on to their teenage and adult years. The guy would gie her flowers on every important day. He gave her one on their wedding day,
he gave another flower when they were playing with their kids and some other instances. In the end the couple now in their oldage were sitting on the couch in front of the fireplace which had pictures of their family throughout the years and then the woman brought out a box and showed it to her husband. This box had all the flowers he had given her over the years.

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EnnHanzl says:
Im looking for one song i was obsessed with when I was 18. I cant even remember lyrics or anything. I just know that in the music video were girls in car, they look like some gangsters or savage girls and they are singing about love, lies or pain and I think that the name was including those worlds. And that music video is black and white i think….(sorry for my english pls)
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Zach Cullison says:
It’s a girl singing in the early 2000s she’s at a party and she walks up the stairs and is singing in the rooftop with a dog. It’s at night Time I think. Maybe pop, punk.
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Masilina says:
I am looking for a song that starred Cara Deleveinge and Sean O’Pry somewhere in Europe! She was wearing a short red dress and than she wore a white bikini!
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Crystal says:
the video is about a man and woman becoming parents and shes a singer i think its in black and white and color the video shows the journey through the pregnancy it it sung by a female
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Marsha says:
Looking for a music video with a blonde girl. She is in a gene bottle—not Christina Aguilera. I’d say this was late 80’s. I thought it was sitting in the corner, but the music video does not correlate: help!
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serg says:
Looking for this song. I have a clear discription of the music video but can’t find it.
-Little girls with cigarettes, housewife smashing plates

Definitely from 2000’s. Emo, or alternative rock band. Lead singer had short blond hair. Housewife wearing yellow dishwashing gloves gets angry and starts throwing plates down on the tile floor. 2 very young girls take cigarettes and run outside. Blond woman dances suggestively and touches herself. Dad starts to put his wife’s cloths on. Its about members of a family that put on a facade and are sick of their life.

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Justen Elliott says:
so I need help looking for a old song that I used to listen to but can’t seem to find it anywhere now.
all I remember is it’s from 2010/2011 the band starts with the letter A and in the music video it takes place in like this white room and it’s a bunch of slow motion of the great metal balls falling on the floor as well as a person falling I can’t remember if it was a man or a woman it maybe both but I was hoping you guys could help me out please thank you.
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Leo says:
I have been looking for a music video, it starts with a piano being played at night, the piano is wet from rain, the same is the other instruments in the video, it is from late 1980s or beginning of the 1990s if i remember correct, i have tryid searchin, but have no luck.
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Zara says:
Please I need to find this music video where a painter is sitting in the streets out of idea what to paint, then a woman in burka hijab passes by he asks her to be his model. Alternative song. That’s all I know. Please send help.
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Valentina says:
I need a name of song where girl goes to some man he is like some hairdresser and he tears her head and skin and turn her into and old man
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Em says:
Maybe Katie Melua – I cried for you?
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kay says:
im tryna find a mv of this band. Theyre all dudes and its a song about a girl whose in an abusive relationship. I think the lead singer is like singing to his friend that he has to stop what hes doung. I dont remember anything other than the video where the girl is in her home and she keeps falling and flinching as if being pushed around by her lover.and then the scene changes to the band singing in the same room she was in. If anyone knows what this is please lmk.also its like and 80’s or 90’s thpe of mv.thanks
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Rich says:
im trying to find a music video where there are these guys on top of moving cars that are being chased by police, there was a lead singer leading other cars and the singers and guitarists were standing on the hoods of the cars
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Alyx says:
Looking for this video that has no lyrics but has a man dressed in a red jumper and he starts painting his room white. He then paints himself white at the end and walks outside. The genre is trip hop and it sounds similar to Kat’s Gut by Eduardo Santaolalla…
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Kaleb says:
I’m trying to find this music video an old friend showed me but later didnt want me to know about cause he wanted to study from his favorite artists himself..
It’s a rap hiphop genre were at the beginning of the music video this kid is exploring somewhere random that looks abandoned and finds a vhs tape with a bloody hand print on it, he puts it in his TV to watch and the song starts. It has multiple rappers in it and the lyrisism is really good. I think its older.. and they are talking about pretty real stuff but I cannot for the life of me figure out or find this song/music video! I’ve tried everything in the search engines and nothing comes up. I even tried bing, please if someone knows this song let me know! Thanks
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Kyle Snowden says:
Tool video where there was a computer assembly line then demons puking up other demons… good drum solo at the beginning during computer assembly line intro
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Ethan says:
Hey man, this is probably a one in a million shot here, but is this the music video you’re thinking of?

Reply

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