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Search Tips

Searching for Artists

Since April 2006, Spotlight's artist search facility has incorporated our proprietary "soundalike" technology, designed to help you find the artists you're looking for quickly and easily.

Because of the number of different spellings and pronunciations used in common English names, we offer several different search techniques to help you find the artists you're looking for.

"Normal" Matching

Normal matching uses exactly what you've typed to match artists' names in our database.

  • Searching for "cath bo" would match Catherine Boland and Catherine Boother.
    • It won't match Katherine Bower or  Cathy Bauer, because their names don't match the exact spelling that you've supplied.
    • It also won't match Catherine Stromboli, because it only matches the beginning of a word so it won't find the "bo" in "stromboli"

This is the fastest option if you know exactly who you're searching for.

Wildcard Searches (@)

For historical reasons, our search system supports the "@" character as a 'wildcard.'

Searching for "cath @land" will match Catherine Boland, Cathy Roland and Catherine Flanders

Soundalike Matching

Soundalike matching will try and match complete names that sound the same as the names you've supplied.

  • Searching  for "catherine" and will also find Katherine, Kathryn, Katharine and Catrin.
  • Searching for "newbry" will also match Newbury, Newbry and Newberry

Fuzzy Matching

Fuzzy matching still uses the 'soundalike' system, but it considers patterns within each name; for example: 

  • "liz jon" would match "Elisabeth Johnson", "Eliza Littlejohn" and "Lysette Harper-Jones"
  • "chris f" would match "Christopher Fisher", "Christina Suffolk" and "Kris Philips"

Fuzzy matching searches take a little longer - at busy times, it could take 10-20 seconds to display your search results - and they return a lot more results than an ordinary name search, but it may work better if you're not sure of the exact name you're looking for.

You may notice fuzzy-matching searches returning some very odd results - a search for "aled rees" will include Juliet Forester and Elliot Russo, for example! This is because soundalike can't distinguish between "aled" and "uliet",

What if it isn't working properly?

Don’t forget that Spotlight is a database of professional performers and broadcasters – so if you are searching for a "celebrity" or a sportsperson, it's not that the system isn't working, it's just that they don't appear in Spotlight!

Our soundalike software was developed in-house, using the names of all Spotlight advertisers past & present as a reference. We're confident that it's the best solution available, but it's possible there are a few unusual names that it doesn't understand yet!

If you do find an anomaly - especially if it means a specific artist isn't showing up in search results, when you think they should be - please e-mail [email protected] and tell us who you were searching for, and what you expected to find, and we'll investigate.